Which countries are testing driverless cars?

At auto industry events like the Geneva Motor Show, the question looms of when cars will be able to drive themselves. But first the technology has to be tested. Here’s where such tests and research are happening around the world.

This content was published on March 4, 2016 - 10:00
Veronica DeVore and Duc-Quang Nguyen

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Major auto industry players like Volkwagen, Ford and Audi have been conducting autonomous vehicle tests for years, and several top executives have promised fully self-driving cars by 2020. Recently, Tesla’s Elon Musk made headlines by saying the company would debut a fully autonomous car in the next two years.

Switzerland has played host to several autonomous vehicle tests, with a city bus in Sion and a car in Zurich. Driverless vehicle tests in Europe tend to focus on public transport, while those in countries like the United States with large driving distances more often involve private cars. 

But the tests haven’t gone off without incident: recently, one of Google’s autonomous cars was at fault in a minor accident with a city bus. 

The Geneva Auto Show, underway through March 13, has debuted several cars with self-driving elements, such as models where the car can drive itself – still with a person behind the wheel – on motorways. And the Italian company Ed Design unveiled a prototype of a fully autonomous race car in Geneva which they hope will take part in a major race by 2025.

An upcoming story on will explore how Swiss startups are getting in on the early days of the driverless car market.

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