An official investigation into Ford’s BlueCruise software has been launched by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) after a number of fatal crashes occurred while it was being used.

The NHTSA’s preliminary investigation involves around 130,000 Ford Mustang Mach-E vehicles using the hands-free driving system.

It includes two incidents this year that are also being investigated separately by the Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), involving 2021 – 2024 Mach-E vehicles.

The two Mustang Mach-E vehicles collided with stationary vehicles during the night (two fatalities resulted). The initial investigation of both incidents “confirmed that BlueCruise was engaged in each of the subject vehicles immediately prior to the collision,” the report says. NHTSA previously opened special crash investigations into both fatal incidents. 

BlueCruise is Ford’s Advanced Driver Assistance Technology (ADAS) software, which enables L2 hands-free driving in designated so-called ‘Blue Zones’, which are certain roadways and uses a camera-based driver monitoring system to determine driver attentiveness.

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It was introduced in model year 2021 and is currently available in a range of Ford and Lincoln vehicles. The feature is available in the US, Canada and Europe.

Ford says it is working with the NHTSA to support its investigation.