Ford to start testing its self-driving cars on California roads in January

Ford to start testing its self-driving cars on California roads in January

Bigwig automaker Ford is set to join the growing number of car companies that are fielding their self-driving vehicles on the US West Coast. The Detroit-based auto giant will start testing its self-driving Ford Fusion Hybrid sedans on California roads from January 2016.

Ford has received a permit to commence the testing of its autonomous cars on public streets as part of the California Autonomous Vehicle Testing Program.

The self-driving Fusion Hybrid sedans which Ford will start testing in California, beginning in January, will largely be driven in and around the company’s Research and Innovation Center in Palo Alto.

With Ford already having commenced the testing of the self-driving Fusion Hybrid sedan in a closed-course setting in the Palo Alto area, the permit received by the company will now enable it to bring a small fleet of 2016 Fusions to California roads. The new Fusions will be operated by Ford around Silicon Valley and San Francisco streets.

Sharing details about Ford’s plans to test its self-driving Fusions in California, James McBride -- founder of Ford's autonomous vehicle program -- has revealed that when the Fusions hit the California roads, they will be occupied by one operator as well as one systems expert. The operator will monitor the driving controls, while the systems expert will monitor the sensors of the self-driving vehicles.

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