According to the telegraph, Eric Schmidt, the Chairman of Alphabet, Googles parent company, has revealed that they are considering trialling self-driving cars in the UK.
Google’s self-driving cars have only been tested in the US to date, but we have been seeing a lot from the UK in terms of autonomous testing, from pods to lorries, so the question is upon us, are we about to see a massive change in the landscape of British roads? Eric Schmidt seems to think so, saying that officials had proposed bringing self-driving cars to a city in Britain and that “eventually we will all be in self-driving cars”.
It takes a lot of time and effort to get permission from a state to begin testing self-driving cars. So far Google’s self-driving car has only been tested on public roads in California, Texas and Washington, so testing in the UK would be a big step in terms of making some international headway.
When speaking about the testing process Schmidt said “We have to get permission from the Government to have these things coexist, we have to go through country by country and state by state in the US, so we are working through that, it takes forever.”
We already know that between 2013-2015 Google held up to five face-to-face meetings with the UK Department for Transport in relation to autonomous vehicles. Sarah Hunter, head of policy for Google’s experimental division, Google X, said that one of the meetings went very well indeed and that the company was “very positive about the non-regulatory approach being taken in the UK [which] places the UK in a good position and could be seen as an example of best practice”.
So as long as Google’s self-driving cars can be covered by British insurance companies, it shouldn’t be too long before we see them popping up on UK public roads. Will Google’s latest push in the self-driving industry be a success? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.