Ford to Expand Driverless Car Testing in Europe by 2017
【Summary】The group announced plans to conduct tests on European soil in 2017. In order to ease such risks, which could easily derail the company’s 2021 goals, Ford commissioned a survey to find out how ready the European market is for self-driving cars.
The race to build and release a fully functioning driverless car is filled with companies from different parts of the world. While a large bulk of their customers are based in the United States, some businesses in the sector, like nuTonomy (testing its autonomous fleet in Singapore) and Nissan (testing in Japan), are focusing on other regions to refine various parts of the technology.
Another auto brand that is set to move in that direction is Ford. The group announced plans to conduct tests on European soil in 2017. Industry analysts see the move as a smart one. Regulatory hurdles in the US has frustrated several self-driving car developers, including Google. The tech giant is currently dealing with slow policy-making processes established by California officials and the Department of Motor Vehicles.
"It is important that we extend our testing to Europe," said Ford of Europe's manager for Automated Driving Thomas Lukaszewicz. "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 and 2021
Ford's intention to release vehicles with L4 autonomous features, as classified by the Society of Automotive Engineers, by 2021 is ambitious. But going beyond this goal, the company is aiming to leverage its future fleet of self-driving cars to stay ahead of its competitors, which includes car manufacturers invested in commercial ride-sharing and on-demand transportation services. Ford is known for utilizing newly formed partnerships to expand its core products. For example, the company acquired ride-sharing shuttle service Chariot (based in San Francisco) in an all-cash deal and incorporated up to 100 Transit Connect vans to grow the service to 28 busy routes around the city.
In Europe, the business will launch testing programs in Ford's Engineering Center in Essex, U.K., as well as Research & Advanced Engineering facilities located in Aachen and Cologne, Germany. The company chose the locations for their high level of familiarity surrounding driverless technology. By firmly establishing its presence in Europe, Ford hopes to streamline the release of its future offerings in the area by first launching in the US. Moreover, the car brand's strategy is to influence the nascent driverless car market in Europe by showcasing its success in the US.
Easing Barrier-to-Entry Risks
By pioneering expansion from the US to Europe, Ford could face numerous, unforeseen barrier-to-entry challenges. In order to ease such risks, which could easily derail the company's 2021 goals, Ford commissioned a survey to find out how ready the European market is for self-driving cars. The business uncovered that roughly 16 percent of respondents (out of 4,000 submissions) are open to the idea of allowing their child to use autonomous vehicles for daily commuting to or from school. A whopping 72 percent plan to use time inside the modern cars to catch up on phone conversations, while 64 percent would like to use the free hours to eat.
"Time freed up by autonomous commuting isn't insubstantial – Ford says its data shows that Europeans spend, on average, 10 full days per year in their cars," explained Darrell Etherington from TechCrunch.
Michael Cheng is a legal editor and technical writer with publications for Blackberry ISHN Magazine Houzz and Payment Week. He specializes in technology business and digesting hard data. Outside of work Michael likes to train for marathons spend time with his daughter and explore new places.
Waymo Receives Permit to Participate in California’s Autonomous Vehicle Pilot
How Do Autonomous Cars Deal with Double-parked Vehicles?
Kitty Hawk and Boeing Form Partnership to Make Flying Cars Safer
Waymo to Bring Driverless Cars to France and Japan via Nissan-Renault Partnership
Porsche Forecasts EVs Going Mainstream
Zomato Tests Drones for Food Deliveries in India
Alibaba Brings Tmall Genie to Audi, Honda and Renault Vehicles
Driverless Sensor Startup Sense Photonics Raises $26 Million in Series A Funding
- Ford Purchases Property in Austin for Autonomous Car Command Center
- Tesla to Borrow $1.4 Billion for Shanghai Factory & China Operations
- Mercedes Benz Scales Back Production of the Electric EQC Due to Battery Shortage
- Ford to Invest $1.45 Billion in Two Michigan Plants to Support Production of the New Bronco and Hybrid & Electric F-150 Pickups
- EV Charging Operator EVgo Announces the Opening of its 800th Fast Charging Location
- Toyota and its Partners Are Building Maps for Autonomous Vehicles Using Satellite Images & Dash Cam Footage
- Cadillac Will Reveal its First Ever Electric Vehicle in April
- Autonomous Driving Startup Pony.ai Receives $400 Million Investment from Toyota
- BMW Confirms the Next 7 Series Will Come with an Electric, Hybrid, Diesel or Gas Powertrain
- Luxury Electric Automaker Lucid Motors Opens Up Reservations for its Air Sedan