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Ford to Start Testing Autonomous Cars in Europe

American carmaker Ford wants to start testing self-driving cars in Europe in 2017, in a bid to expand its 2021 roll-out of autonomous ride-sharing cabs from the US to the Old Continent.

According to TechCrunch, the vehicles will be trialled at its Engineering Centre  in Essex, and at the Research & Advanced Engineering facilities in the German cities of Cologne and Aachen. The labs are currently at the cutting edge of Ford’s efforts in driver-assist tech in Europe.

The company is also looking into what Europeans think of self-driving cars—with a survey of nearly 4,000 people on this topic.
The research found that only 16 percent of respondents would entrust autonomous cars with shuttling their children to and from school, and that 64 percent of them would use the time freed up by driverless cars to eat more.

Ford hammered home the theme of self-driving cars’ potential for giving spare time back to people, noting that Europeans spend about ten days per year in their cars. If the commuting experience could be liberated from the hassle of having to keep one’s hands on the wheel, the argument goes, ten whole days might be spent doing something more inspiring, such as film-watching, reading or, apparently, eating.

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