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February 8, 2016

The UK wants Google to test its self-driving cars in London

by John_A

Google’s self-driving cars have already racked up more than a million miles, however all of them have taken place in the US. What about other parts of the world, such as those where people drive on the left? According to Sky News, some London officials have been trying to persuade the company to test in Britain for precisely these purposes. The last meeting took place “a few weeks ago,” according to Isabel Dedring, London’s deputy mayor for transport, following “at least half a dozen” talks over the last three years. Clearly, they haven’t been able to work something out.

“It’s still very early days but we would be keen for trials to happen in London whenever Google are ready to move them into other countries.”

The UK government is desperate for Britain to be a research haven for autonomous transportation. In Decemeber 2014, it part-funded a small number of research projects that included electric shuttle buses and two-person pods, virtual simulators and LIDAR-equipped jeeps. Soon, these will be joined by eight new programmes that are designed to test, among others, the public’s reaction to self-driving vehicles and a 41-mile “connected corridor.” While useful, none of these have quite the same panache as Google’s project. It does, therefore, make sense for politicians to try to court the company, as this would expose and legitimise its other efforts, while attracting new companies to bring their R&D to the UK.

Source: Sky News

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