Ford has announced it will start testing autonomous cars on European roads in 2017.
The program is intended to resolve the issues around getting the system to work across international borders. Road layouts, signage and traffic codes vary widely from country to country in Europe, so developing a system that understands the differences and can switch between them when the car crosses a border is absolutely vital.
Ford has been testing its autonomous driving technology in America for some time, as it strives to become a leader in connectivity, mobility, and autonomous vehicles. Earlier this year, the automaker announced plans to launch a fully-autonomous car on a ride-sharing service by 2021. That car will feature Level 4 autonomy, which the Society of Automotive Engineers defines as a car without a steering wheel or pedals. An autonomous car that will be sold to general consumers is set to follow in 2025.
Uber has separately been testing a Fusion fitted with its own autonomous driving tech in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Ford has also been asking drivers what they would do with their time while being driven in an autonomous car. 64 percent they would have a bite to eat, 72 percent would catch up with people on the phone, and 80 percent said they would simply relax and enjoy the scenery.
Astonishingly, 16 percent even said they would let their children travel unaccompanied in a driverless car
Ford of Europe automated driving manager, Thomas Lukaszewicz, said: “People are really beginning to think about exactly what autonomous vehicles could mean to their day-to-day lives. Many of us neglect time for ourselves and for our loved ones in the face of other demands. Self-driving car will revolutionize the way we live, as well as the way we travel.”