Ford is gearing up to test self-driving cars in Europe next year

 
Rebecca Smith
The robots are coming? Not quite, just driverless cars
The robots are coming? Not quite, just driverless cars (Source: Getty)

Keep an eye out on the roads next year.

For Ford is bringing its self-driving cars to European roads next year - but just for testing.

“People are really beginning to think about exactly what autonomous vehicles could mean to their day-to-day lives,” said Thomas Lukaszewicz, manager, automated driving, Ford of Europe. “Many of us neglect time for ourselves and for our loved ones in the face of other demands. Self-driving cars will revolutionise the way we live, as well as the way we travel.”

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The company has around 30 self-driving cars in its fleet and has big ambitions: it wants to triple that number in 2017, bringing the total number of its cars to around 100.

It also has plans to launch a fleet of autonomous taxis in at least one city in the US by 2021.

Lukaszewicz said it was important testing was carried out in 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.”

Many car and technology firms are beavering away on autonomous vehicles, and last month driverless cars hit the UK's roads for the first time, in Milton Keynes no less.

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The Lutz pathfinder project, as it's officially called, was the result of combined efforts of several tech pioneers including the prestigious Oxford Robotics Institute, part of Oxford University, a company spun-off from the institution, Oxbotica, and Coventry-based tech firm RDM.

Over in the US, Google revealed that it has now clocked up the equivalent of 300 years of driving experience in the US, where it's been testing them on California's public roads.

The race is very much on.

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