A Matter of Trust: Ford’s Approach to Developing Self-Driving Vehicles

By Sherif Marakby, CEO, Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC

Earlier this week, I shared a report outlining our approach to self-driving vehicle development with U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. Our full report, “A Matter of Trust,” is available for you to read and you can view the letter I sent to Secretary Chao below.

As Ford pursues its goal of developing a self-driving vehicle for deployment at scale in 2021, we believe that ensuring people trust the safety, reliability and the experience that our vehicles will enable is paramount. We’ve spent more than a century earning consumer trust by designing and building safe, quality vehicles, and we’re committed to preserving that trust in a future of self-driving vehicles.

In our report, you will learn how we always prioritize safety at Ford; how we are working closely with industry and government partners; and how we are applying self-driving technology to solve the challenges our cities face. Our goal is to give you a sense of the new services that will be available in the near future and how they could impact our lives.


The Honorable Elaine Chao
Secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE
Washington, D.C. 20590

Dear Madam Secretary:

We truly appreciate your work with the Department of Transportation to set a framework for self-driving technology development with “Automated Driving Systems 2.0: A Vision for Safety.” We share your goal of being good stewards of the future, which includes both ensuring safety and facilitating innovation and competitiveness. As such, we’re pleased to share our voluntary safety self-assessment, “A Matter of Trust: Ford’s Approach to Developing Self-Driving Vehicles.”

As you know well, technology is changing the world we live in, including how we get around. Transportation is no longer just about owning a car or catching a train. Much of the change we are experiencing is driven by innovations focused on solving issues of traffic congestion and air pollution, as well as pedestrian, cyclist and vehicle occupant safety.

At Ford, we celebrate this innovation with the understanding that many of these technologies are still in the early stages of development. We appreciate the fact that you and the department do too and agree that the benefit of these technologies comes from our working together to ensure they are deployed in safe, responsible and effective ways.

Self-driving vehicles are an innovation that shows tremendous promise and, yet, for each and every one of us, the technology is all new. With all of the excitement and anticipation, and yes, some trepidation, it is important to share our perspective and listen to others.

At Ford, we’re working hard to understand the transformative potential of self-driving technology in order to best apply it to positively change the lives of our customers, the operation of our cities, and the economics of businesses large and small.

We also believe that developing self-driving vehicles is not simply about the technology — it is about earning the trust of our customers and of those cities and businesses that will ultimately use it. Safety, reliability and the experience the technology will enable are the key pillars to developing trust.

We hope you view this report as another sign of our commitment to being a collaborative partner with the U.S. Department of Transportation as we enter the next era in transportation. We look forward to working together to build consumer awareness and confidence in the technology on our journey to deploy safe, reliable and valued self-driving vehicles.

Very sincerely yours,

Sherif Marakby
CEO, Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC