Having established its self-driving car projects in the US, Ford has confirmed that it will set up a similar research programme in Europe next year
Matt Burt
29 November 2016

Ford will begin testing autonomous cars on European roads in 2017 as the next step in its pledge to make self-driving vehicles available to millions of people.

With its self-driving car development programme already up and running in the US, Ford is turning its attention to tackling the complex challenge of making an autonomous system work across European boundaries.

Ford works towards driverless cars with new autonomous tech

Ford’s ambition is to be a global leader in connectivity, mobility and autonomous vehicles. Earlier this year announced its intention to have a “high-volume, fully autonomous vehicle in commercial operation in 2021 in a ride-hailing or ride-sharing service”.

Ford expects that the car used for that service in five years' time will be capable of level four autonomy on the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) scale, which is classified as ‘high automation’ and is one step away from full autonomy.

Thomas Lukaszewicz, Ford of Europe’s autonomous driving manager, said: “We have already announced plans to use an autonomous vehicle for a ride-sharing service in the US in 2021 and it is important that we extend our testing to Europe.

“Rules of the road vary from country to country here, traffic signs and road layouts are different and drivers are likely to share congested roads with cyclists.”

Ford semi-autonomous emergency steering system under development

During 2016 Ford has tripled the size of its autonomous test fleet of Fusion Hybrids on the roads of California, Arizona and Michigan and plans to triple it again in 2017. The manufacturer claims it has the most advanced self-driving test fleet of any car maker.

Ford has already claimed a number of firsts in self-driving car research, including being the first manufacturer to test autonomous vehicles in the snow and at night. In the US it has conducted extensive testing at Mcity, a 32-acre, full-scale simulated real-world urban environment at the University of Michigan.

Ford to release mass-market autonomous car in 2021

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Our Verdict

Ford Fiesta
Fiestas sold in Europe are ostensibly the same as those sold in America and Asia

The seventh-generation Ford Fiesta is the UK's best selling car, helped by frugal engines, handling verve and a big car feel

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30 November 2016
That will save some money as my children will be teenagers about then. No insurance, driving lessons or first car purchase.

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