General Motors is not happy with Ford’s driver-assistance technology name, Reuters reports. Why? Because BlueCruise, Ford’s tech, sounds too much like GM’s Super Cruise and Hyper Cruise, its own driver-assistance technologies, and Cruise, its robo-taxi service subsidiary.
Both Ford’s BlueCruise and GM’s Super and Hyper Cruise systems are base-level autonomous driving technologies that would allow drivers to lift their hands from the steering wheel while still being alert. These technologies aren’t fully self-driving, but they’re what the SAE would term a level-2 tech, which allows the car to do a little bit of heavy lifting while the driver can relax — while still being alert, of course.
“While GM had hoped to resolve the trademark infringement matter with Ford amicably, we were left with no choice but to vigorously defend our brands and protect the equity our products and technology have earned over several years in the market,” GM said in its statement.
Ford has argued that GM and Cruise’s claim is “meritless and frivolous” because “drivers for decades have understood what cruise control is, every automaker offers it, and ‘cruise’ is common shorthand for the capability.”
Basically, Ford is calling BlueCruise a kind of advanced cruise control, which isn’t totally accurate but also not totally wrong.
GM, on the other hand, has argued that automated driving is definitely not cruise control, so Ford can’t use the word “cruise” to describe it. Because GM got there first. GM is arguing that Ford intentionally named its technology BlueCruise to create a sense of confusion between the brands and to capitalize on all the hard marketing work GM has done.
Ford is still arguing that other automakers have used the word “cruise” for decades to refer to a variety of other technologies and simple acts people engage in behind the wheel.
Ford announced BlueCruise in April of 2021, which will be available in the Mustang Mach-E and F-150 later this year through over-the-air updates at a cost of $600 for three years of service.