Ford to begin self-driving car tests on European roads in 2017

After detailing an autonomous future in the US earlier this year, Ford is ready to begin testing in Europe.

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Ford wants to bring self-driving to the US by 2021. (Image: Ford)

Ford on Tuesday announced it will begin testing self-driving cars in Europe in 2017.

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Testing will begin in Europe at Ford's UK-based Engineering Center in Essex, the automarker told TechCrunch. Ford will also begin testing at its Research and Advanced Engineering facilities in Aachen and Cologne in Germany. It has more sites planned for the future.

"It is important that we extend our testing to Europe," Thomas Lukaszewicz, manager for Automated Driving for Ford of Europe, said in a statement. "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."

Earlier this year, Ford outlined its self-driving future. Ford's goal is to build a car to the SAE Level 4 standard of automation (meaning no steering wheel or peddles) to be used in urban, geofenced regions to supplement public transportation. Testing has begun in cities across the US.

BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford, and Volkswagen Group on Tuesday also announced plans to build a high-power charging network along major highways in Europe. It's expected to consist of 400 "ultra-fast" charging sites in "an important step toward facilitating mass-market battery electric vehicle adoption."

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