As Uber and Tesla have learned, it doesn’t take a lot of bad press to shatter public trust on autonomous vehicles. Ford has taken that lesson to heart, saying it would rather instill confidence in self-driving cars than be first to market. In a letter to the US Department of Transportation (DoT) and 44-page report called “A Matter of Trust,” the automaker detailed how it plans to safely test its self-driving vehicles on public roads.
Why the emphasis on trust? The death of a pedestrian involving a Uber self-driving vehicle with a safety driver in particular seemed to affect the public’s opinion of self driving cars. Prior to that, 44 percent of US adults said they’d be okay riding in autonomous cars. However, a more recent Pew survey showed that three-quarters of participants would rather not be driven by robots, and half said they’d never buy a self-driving car.
Considering the rush to develop the tech, that’s pretty bad news. Automakers and tech companies like Mercedes, Toyota, Waymo and others have heavily invested in the tech, and begun testing vehicles on public roads. Toyota and NVIDIA, however, temporarily halted testing following the Uber accident.