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Driverless cars: Unique challenges posed on European roads

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By Sinead Barry  with Reuters
Driverless cars: Unique challenges posed on European roads
Copyright  REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

With the self-driving car predicted to potentially turn our current transportation system on its head, some have asked how these cars might work in practice in Europe.

For the most part, self-driving, or driverless cars have been tested in the United States, where roads are typically much wider than Europe or other regions. 

The major cities of Europe are much older than their American counterparts, with many streets predating traditional cars.

“A car trained to drive on the wide-open highways of Arizona isn’t going to survive on the streets of Croydon. It’s a totally different environment,” said Alex van Someren, venture capital investor at Amadeus Capital.

Nonetheless, many startups have begun testing these cars in Europe, with companies like Oxbotica, FiveAI and Wayve among the names that are currently testing in Britain. This continent, they say, poses many quirks and challenges that American tech giants have yet to overcome.

Despite the difficulties, self-driving cars are expected to grow in popularity at an exceptional rate. Driverless cars are estimated to account for a fifth of global new car sales by as early as 2030 say some investors.