It looks like Ford, while going all-in on EVs, is bowing out of the full self-driving car business… at least for now.
In a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the company revealed that it is not moving forward with plans to develop Level 4, or fully autonomous, self-driving vehicles. Instead, Ford plans to limit its focus on improving and deploying Level 2 and Level 3 self-driving technology in its vehicles.
The company says that “the road to fully autonomous vehicles, at scale, with a profitable business model, will be a long one.”
As evidenced by the planned shutdown of our ADS partner Argo Al, we believe the road to fully autonomous vehicles, at scale, with a profitable business model, will be a long one. At this time, Ford has determined that it is more prudent to focus on nearer-term L2/L3 technologies, which do not require an exemption. Hence, we would exemption from further consideration. like to withdraw the subject petition for an exemption for further consideration.
You can check out the full letter to the NHTSA from Ford below:
It’s interesting to hear Ford take this stance, especially since the growth of electric vehicles is almost synonymous at this point with the race towards fully autonomous vehicles. Of course, no one is close yet to achieving Level 4 self-driving. Even Tesla’s Full Self-Driving Beta, which the company continues to improve and is one of the best systems yet, is still considered Level 2 by the company itself.
Interestingly, even though Tesla is the most covered, Mercedes was actually the first automaker in the United States to achieve Level 3 self-driving certification. The company said that its DRIVE PILOT system will work on “suitable freeway sections and where there is high traffic density” and that it can “take over the dynamic driving task, up to the speed of 40 mph.”