WASHINGTON — Ford Motor Co. has withdrawn its petition to deploy a limited number of self-driving vehicles without traditional driving controls or features on U.S. roads, an unpublished federal document shows.
In the notice, which is scheduled to be published Friday, NHTSA said Ford has withdrawn its July 2021 request for a temporary exemption from certain federal safety standards for a vehicle equipped with an automated driving system.
Ford sought an exemption from seven safety standards to deploy vehicles that would be used to support mobility services such as ride-sharing and package delivery, according to the petition.
Ford notified NHTSA in February of its decision to withdraw the petition.
If it had been approved, it would have allowed Ford to deploy up to 2,500 self-driving vehicles annually.
In a statement to Automotive News, Ford spokesman Alan Hall said it withdrew the petition as part of a strategic decision announced in late 2022 to focus more on its advanced driver-assist system development for personally owned vehicles, "shifting away from developing Level 4 autonomous vehicles for commercial fleets."
"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," Hall said.
General Motors' self-driving unit, Cruise, is seeking an exemption from six safety standards to deploy its Origin vehicle, which is built for fleet-controlled ride-share and delivery services. The Origin is not equipped with manual controls or features such as a steering wheel, pedals, manual turn signals and mirrors, according to the petition. That request is still awaiting approval by NHTSA.
In August, NHTSA extended a deadline for public comment on both automakers' petitions.
NHTSA granted its first-ever exemption petition allowing limited deployment of automated driving systems to Nuro Inc. in 2020.