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Ford No Longer Wants Federal Self-Driving Safety Exemptions

Last October, Ford and Volkswagen-backed self-driving tech company Argo AI announced that it was shutting down in a bit of a surprising move, albeit one made as The Blue Oval decided that Level 4 and Level 5 autonomous technology won’t be profitable anytime soon, instead choosing to focus on Level 2 and 3 tech. Soon after, FoMoCo hired 600 former Argo AI engineers and announced that it had created its own autonomous tech subsidiary dubbed Latitude AI, which will utilize Argo’s former Pittsburgh headquarters and test center. The automaker is making one big change in regards to its self-driving strategy, however, as it previously petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to grant self-driving safety exemptions for a limited number of autonomous vehicles that don’t have any sort of human controls on board, and now, it has withdrawn that request, according to Automotive News.

Ford reportedly withdrew its petition that would have allowed it to deploy a handful of autonomous vehicles on public roads that lack traditional controls, which was originally filed back in July of 2021. These seven self-driving safety exemptions from federal safety standards were set to be temporary, giving the automaker the chance to test those types of vehicles in real-world situations.

Ford reportedly informed the NHTSA that it was withdrawing this petition – which, if approved, would have granted it the ability to deploy 2,500 vehicles each year – in February. The idea was that these vehicles would be used for things like package deliveries and ride-share services. However, following its decision to focus on Level 2 and 3 tech, the automaker determined that these exemptions were no longer necessary.

Ford is “shifting away from developing Level 4 autonomous vehicles for commercial fleets,” said spokesman Alan Hall. “As a result of this decision, we no longer need NHTSA to extend the exemption petition to support Level 4-related testing for Ford at this time.”

We’ll have more on Ford’s self-driving push soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for 24/7 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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