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Ford’s self-driving vehicles will hit public roads sometime next year

Thanks to the California Autonomous Vehicle Testing Program, the state has become the most-popular place in the world to test out self-driving vehicles on public roads, and Ford is the latest company to secure a permit to do so. BMW, Google, Honda, Mercedes, Nissan, Tesla, and Volkswagen have already received similar permits, and Google has been testing out its self-driving vehicles on California roads for a while. Ford will begin its own testing sometime next year, using a small fleet of autonomous Fusion Hybrid sedans that were developed at its research center in Palo Alto.

Ford is the latest company to receive a permit from California to test its autonomous cars on public roadways. The California Autonomous Vehicle Testing Program provides a regulatory framework for companies to legally test self-driving cars. The autonomous Ford Fusion Hybrid sedans have been developed by Ford’s Research and Innovation Center Palo Alto, where more than 100 researchers work on advanced tech for the Detroit giant. California is proving to be one of the most popular proving grounds for autonomous cars, thanks to established regulations and a vast amount of technical talent. Ford joins a number of existing carmakers with autonomous car permits including BMW, Honda, Mercedes, Nissan, Tesla, and Volkswagen, as well as less traditional manufacturers like Google. As autonomous driving goes, the rest of the country is still a patchwork of state-by-state regulations (or lack thereof), which may make development of self-driving cars in California a little more palatable for lawsuit-wary companies.

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