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Ford, GM Petition NHTSA For Self Driving Vehicle Exemptions

Ford-backed self driving vehicle company Argo AI has expanded rapidly in recent months, testing out its autonomous vehicles in a number of cities across the globe and even ditching human drivers in a couple of them. This effort is still in its early stages, however, as most self driving vehicle operations around the U.S. and other parts of the world are limited to geofenced areas and have human safety drivers on board. Regardless, Ford and General Motors are both looking ahead, and have now asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to grand exemptions for a limited number of autonomous vehicles that don’t have any sort of human controls on board, according to Reuters.

In response, the NHTSA has published each automaker’s petitions and opened them for public comment over the next 30 days as it considers the issue. Ford and GM reportedly want to deploy as many as 2,500 vehicles per year lacking things like steering wheels and pedals, which is the maximum currently allowed by law. The vehicles would be used for ride sharing and delivery services, but will not be sold to customers.

Ford’s petition – filed back in July 2021 – was previously undisclosed, but came to light when the NHTSA published it this week. GM and its self-driving division Cruise revealed their own petition this past February. Ford and Argo AI are aiming to deploy self-driving commercial vehicle services by the end of this decade, and the automaker noted in its petition filing that “having active driving controls and communications would introduce an unacceptable risk to safety.”

The Blue Oval wants to deploy self-driving hybrid-electric vehicles that are “specifically designed and tailored to support mobility services such as ride sharing, ride hailing, and package delivery,” according to the petition. “This petition is an important step toward helping create a regulatory path that allows autonomous technologies to mature over time, eliminating controls and displays that are only useful to human drivers,” a Ford spokesperson said.

We’ll have more on this very soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for continuous Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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Comments

  1. Michael Fornetti

    Elimination of driver controls is definitely a huge cost savings plus it eliminates behavioral issues commonly found today like cell phones, texting, excessive speeding, poor skill levels and poor decision making on the part of humans. (why doesn’t NHTSA fine individuals for behavioral issues???)

    Reply
  2. Steve Ketterer

    By necessity, the part of our brains that facilitate personal responsibility shrinks as mankind [can I still say that?] is taken over by its own inventions.

    Reply
    1. Ian

      I can feel my brain shrinking every time I use cruise control or I ride in a vehicle equipped with lane keep assist!

      Reply
      1. Kev

        I absolutely hate all of those numbskull ninny gadgets and wish I could delete them from any vehicle I want to buy. FWIW, I don’t even use cruise control, but am fine with it being part of a package.

        Pay attention people and drive!

        Reply
  3. Tigger

    Lack of driver controls in these drones is asinine. How would you steer these off the roads when they break down? What if there’s an emergency situation that would require use of manual controls?

    Reply
    1. Kev

      My son has been in autonomous for 7 years. He has friends at both companies while he works in the autonomous\remote driving semi trucking segment.
      Both Cruise and Argo have remote operators, used when needed.

      Reply
      1. Tigger

        I’m talking about if the thing dies in the middle of the street. There would be no way a remote operator would be able to assist them then.

        Reply
  4. Dwayne D

    Can someone te me why we need driverless vehicles? Its not necessary. Whats the benefit?

    Reply
  5. John Coviello

    It’s just another save money idea from the already brain dead Farley !!!!!Our insurance companies should make it very clear that ANY accidents caused by such vehicles are the SOLE fault of Ford’s COO (who allows these decisions) , who will be personally responsible for any and all medical and legal costs in damages !!!!!!! That’s the only way to stop this INSANITY !!!!!!

    Reply
  6. Mike

    We are allowing these companies to use AI, etc., to transport us ( hopefully accident free ) with unproven and too early to implement technology, and use us as guinea pigs and test subjects, sometimes with disastorous consequences. Just ask the relatives of the Boeing 737 Maxs crash casualties, or the dozens of Tesla casualties. And our government is in bed with these companies, and are not protecting us, because the technology is moving way faster, then the government bureaucracy can keep up.

    Reply

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