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Ford to Start Testing Autonomous Cars on European Road as Survey Shows How Drivers Would Use the Time Saved

  • Ford to start testing autonomous cars on European roads next year
  • Europeans spend on average 10 days a year in cars and survey reveal how ‘drivers’ would spend time in a self-driving car
  • Self-driving technology seen as best for commuting or going out for drinks
  • One in six happy to let kids travel alone

Self-driving cars may still be a way down the road but many people can already foresee the life-changing difference they will make..

Ford today announced European testing of autonomous cars will start in 2017, as a survey of 5,000 adults showed how drivers would spend the time in self-driving cars. 80 per cent said they would look forward to relaxing and enjoying the scenery, 72 per cent would chat on the phone, 64 per cent would have a bite to eat, with enjoying books and movies close behind.

In a new Ford-commissioned survey, many Europeans felt time behind the wheel would be better spent catching up with nearest and dearest, gazing out the window, or taking a nap. * It could even spell the end of the “school-run mum” – as 16 per cent would let children travel alone.

“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.”

On average, European drivers spend up to 10 days each year in their cars ** and a previous survey showed people in major cities find their commute more stressful than their job. *** This latest poll showed a preference for autonomous vehicles over traditional cars when it comes to going out for drinks and commuting – and nearly half thought driverless cars would be safer.

“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,” added 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.”  

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* Survey conducted for Ford Motor Company in the UK, France, Germany, Norway and Spain by Penn Schoen Berland during November 2016.
*** Survey conducted for Ford Motor Company by Opinion Matters during April 2015

Editor’s notes:

Ford is currently expanding into both an auto and a mobility company; as such the company is aggressively pursuing emerging opportunities through Ford Smart Mobility – its plan to be a leader in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience, and data and analytics. The company is committed to making self-driving cars available for millions of people and earlier this year announced in the U.S. the intention to have a high-volume, fully autonomous SAE level 4‑capable vehicle in commercial operation in 2021 in a ride-hailing or ride-sharing service.

The testing of autonomous vehicles on European roads expands upon Ford becoming the first to test autonomous vehicles in the snow, at night, and at Mcity, a 32-acre, full-scale simulated real-world urban environment at the University of Michigan, in the U.S.

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company is a global automotive and mobility company based in Dearborn, Michigan. With about 203,000 employees and 62 plants worldwide, the company’s core business includes designing, manufacturing, marketing and servicing a full line of Ford cars, trucks and SUVs, as well as Lincoln luxury vehicles. To expand its business model, Ford is aggressively pursuing emerging opportunities with investments in electrification, autonomy and mobility. Ford provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company.  For more information regarding Ford and its products and services, please visit

Ford of Europe

is responsible for producing, selling and servicing Ford brand vehicles in 50 individual markets and employs approximately 53,000 employees at its wholly owned facilities and approximately 68,000 people when joint ventures and unconsolidated businesses are included. In addition to Ford Motor Credit Company, Ford Europe operations include Ford Customer Service Division and 24 manufacturing facilities (16 wholly owned or consolidated joint venture facilities and 8 unconsolidated joint venture facilities). The first Ford cars were shipped to Europe in 1903 – the same year Ford Motor Company was founded. European production started in 1911.

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