Ford reveals autonomous vehicle philosophies, priorities

The report details specific areas of study that Ford and Argo have engaged in, such as the pilot program with Domino's Pizza.

UPDATED: 8/16/18 9:36 am ET - adds links

DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. became the latest company to disclose the values and practices that shape its autonomous vehicle development program in a voluntary safety self-assessment report.

The report, "A Matter of Trust," is Ford's entry into a category of reports suggested by NHTSA's voluntary guidance for automated vehicle development, promulgated in 2017.

"You don't bolt on safety. It has to be ingrained in your culture and every decision you make," Bryan Salesky, CEO of Argo AI, Ford's autonomous vehicle development partner, told Automotive News Wednesday. "That's the culture at Ford Motor Co. and that's the culture we've created at Argo. ... It's about creating a principled process to guide how you develop the product, and that's what you see in the report."

The 44-page report covers Ford's goals, philosophy, priorities and technical approach to self-driving vehicle development, which it states "is not a race."

It also details specific areas of study in which Ford and Argo have engaged, such as research into communication between autonomous vehicles and pedestrians undertaken in partnership with the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and pilot programs with Postmates and Domino’s Pizza studying customer interaction with driverless vehicles.

Ford is the third company to release such a report, following Google affiliate Waymo and General Motors. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao has said that NHTSA, the nation’s top auto safety regulator, will release a third version of its automated vehicle guidance by the end of this month, raising the possibility of new guidelines or requirements for the safety reports.

Read Ford's letter to Chao here.

You can reach Edward Niedermeyer at eniedermeyer@crain.com -- Follow Edward on Twitter: @tweetermeyer

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