Ford Authority

Ford Backed AV Lobby Group Releases Federal Policy Framework

Over the past few years, Ford has invested heavily in autonomous vehicle (AV) technology, chiefly through a company called Argo AI. However, after realizing that Level 4 and 5 autonomy won’t be viable for years, the automaker shut that venture down and has since pivoted to focus on Level 2 and 3 tech, with a more advanced version of BlueCruise in the works. Now, the automaker is collaborating with Google on AV research and has formed Ford Next to spearhead those efforts, which is important as the regulatory environment around this technology changes. Now, a Ford-backed AV lobby group called the Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association (AVIS) has released its own federal policy framework to help guide future legislation.

The idea behind this AV lobby group framework is to ensure the safe and timely deployment of autonomous vehicle technology, all while representing a host of companies aiming to make it viable. AVIS notes that in order to make AVs viable, a federal policy framework that is focused on deployment and commercialization of the technology must be implemented, and that’s precisely what it has come up with here.

First on that particular docket is the need to work with lawmakers to introduce and pass new AV legislation that both supports innovation and recognizes the importance of becoming the world leader in that field, across all vehicle types – including commercial ones. Additionally, AVIS is seeking to expand the vehicle exemption process to deploy innovative vehicle designs and scale the technology by raising exemption caps on automakers and allowing more AVs to be deployed around the country.

Aside from expanding AV testing and evaluation, AVIS also wants the NHTSA to finalize its rules regarding those types of vehicles, ensuring that they comply with the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, update the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations to not require a human driver to operate or be present in an autonomous Commercial Motor Vehicle, protect confidential information, and study the economic, accessibility, and equity impacts of AV deployment at scale.

We’ll have more on Ford’s AV efforts soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for ongoing 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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  1. David Dickinson II

    The #1 most popular job in America is “driver,” and the main point of AVs is to take jobs away from people. You would think those union guys would be fighting tooth and nail against Ford’s push “to not require a human driver to operate or be present in an autonomous Commercial Motor Vehicle.”

    1. RWFA

      “… the main point of AVs is to take jobs away from people.“

      This is really an oddball take. (It’s skin to some short sighted dude a century ago saying the goal of automobiles was to put livery stables, blacksmiths and street sweepers out of jobs.)

      “Job loss” is nobody’s primary driver for AV.

      To be sure, it is a secondary effect for commercial operations, because to increase uptime, reliability, reduce crashes, and, yes, costs, it requires removing the driver (just like faster, cheaper, more reliable telephony required removing the Operator.)

      On the private side of things, job loss is even less of a driving factor. The key drivers are safety, convenience and accessibility for segments of our society who are unable to drive: old, young, physically or mentally handicapped, even folks with substance abuse issues will all be able to get from A-B.

      These systems will democratize transport just like many other technical innovations did over the past century.

      1. David Dickinson II

        They are specifically asking “to not require a human driver to operate or be present in an autonomous Commercial Motor Vehicle.” In a COMMERCIAL vehicle. The point it to cut costs by eliminating the driver and, thus, eliminate the most prevalent job in America. My point is that the unions are helping eliminate jobs. That’s the irony.

  2. RWFA

    I was thinking recently about Ford pulling out of Argo AV but hiring 600 of Argo’s engineers.

    It occurred to me that Ford may still want to pursue Level 4 AV but realized that it’s better to do that alone and not within a JV with an apex OEM competitor.

  3. Mike says...

    AV policy development (what this article refers to) could also be read as the tech industry pushing their wants (AV tech) onto the entire automotive sector, ….. the key word being ‘pushing’ before being mandated by a notoriously slow regulatory regime. It is good business on their part to keep in front of things.
    The growing convergence’s between new tech and traditional products is really quite incredible…. not always good as they cannot all survive. Cue ‘Sirius’ radio for one.
    To your point RWFA, Ford may well navigate its own design and development to avoid costly consolidations and business failures of others within their field of interest.
    Regardless, we live in strange times where things are not driven by traditional needs and in the case of AI, questionable values and ethics.

  4. RWFA

    I think near the top of your comment, at your 2nd AV, you may have meant AI.

    I similarly think you may be too closely conflating AI and AV.

    That said, and although the I very much like the idea of AV, AR, and VR, I share what appear to be your concerns about AI running amok.


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