Britain likely ‘to become first to get driverless cars’, documents reveal

Google has held numerous meetings with the DfT and says it could launch driverless cars in UK as early as 2020

Britain likely ‘to become first to get driverless cars’, documents reveal
Google believes the UK could take the lead in developing laws for its vehicles.

The US internet giant has held five face-to-face meetings with the Department-for-Transport about driverless vehicles in the last two years, according to records made available under the Freedom of Information Act.

The documents suggest that Google has nominated the UK as a key market for its autonomous vehicles which are currently being tested on Californian roads.

Meeting minutes show Google praising the UK’s approach to driverless car rules and its discussions on driverless insurance policies.

High praise

Sarah Hunter, head of policy for Google’s experimental division Google X, said: “The non-regulatory approach being taken in the UK places the UK in a good position and could be seen as an example of best practice.”

Experts predict that the vehicle manufacturers will be responsible for the insurance of cars that operate without a driver.

Large parts of the minutes have been censored to protect commercial interests but it is clear that Google is showing a special interest in the UK.

Google vehicles have travelled more than one million miles on public roads since 2012, a ‘lidar’ sensor uses laser technology to spot pedestrians and traffic.

UK investment

The UK government has committed millions of pounds to driverless car research and has promised law changes to encourage the technology.

A DfT spokesman said: “Driverless cars will bring great benefits to our society, the economy and road safety and we are investing millions into research and trials for the motoring of the future.

“We are making sure our laws are in step with this fast evolving technology and are working with [the] industry to keep the UK at the forefront of its development.”

Are driverless cars something the aftermarket should be concerned about? Share your concerns below.

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