Having tripled its U.S. fleet of autonomous Fusion Hybrids this year, Ford is getting ready to start conducting tests with its self-driving cars on European roads as well in 2017.
Its goal is to accomplish level four with on the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) scale, which is one step away from fully autonomous driving.
“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”, Ford Europe’s autonomous driving manager Thomas Lukaszewic told Autocar. “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.”
The Blue Oval, which will triple its fleet again in 2017, boasts it’s the global leader in connectivity, mobility and autonomous vehicles and intends to have a “high-volume, fully-autonomous” vehicle in operation by 2021.
Quite a challenge because, unlike the States, said vehicle must be able to operate under quite different conditions for, as Lukaszewic noted, traffic conditions vary from one country to another in Europe, something that poses a challenge for autonomous technology.