Road Safety News

Google cars could be trialled in the UK

Monday 14th March 2016



In an interview with the Telegraph, Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google’s parent company Alphabet, has said the Internet giant is considering trialling its driverless cars in the UK.

Talking at a Google event in Seoul, Mr Schmidt said that officials had proposed bringing self-driving cars to a city in Britain, before going on to say “eventually we will all be in self-driving cars”.

Google has been developing its self-driving car since 2009, and according to the Telegraph, more than 1.4m miles have been driven during testing in the US.

Last month, the technology made the UK news after it was revealed that one of Google's self-driving cars had crashed into a bus in California - possibly the first time it has caused a collision.

In response to this, US transport secretary Anthony Foxx told the BBC that the crash was “not a surprise” but that the technology should not be compared "against perfection".

The move to bring Google cars to the UK may not come as a surprise as in December 2015, the Telegraph also revealed that the Internet giant had held a series of meetings with the DfT in the last two years to discuss introducing driverless cars to the UK.

The UK Government has also repeatedly expressed its determination to take the lead on autonomous vehicles.

Last month, it announced a further £20m of investment into the technology while transport minister Andrew Jones recently backed the opening of TRL’s ‘Living Lab’ to test autonomous vehicle technology.

Plans for trials in a number of UK cities have already been rolled out, including London. In January, the design for the capital’s first driverless ‘pods’ was revealed ahead of the tests.

Eric Schmidt told the Telegraph: “One of (Britain’s) leaders suggested we pick a city and start testing there, so we are evaluating these things.”

On the future of self-driving cars, he added: “Eventually you will all be in a self driving  car in some form or another. It’s a combination of technology getting better, but also regulations have to evolve.


“I haven’t met any people with eyes in the back of their head yet, but self-driving cars have eyes behind them. The car has better vision than you, it can see 360 degrees, and it doesn’t get drunk. So that has to be an improvement.”

Photo: Alan via Flickr: use under creative commons act.


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So when the comment “eventually we will all be in self-driving cars”. I suppose this is with the exception of the Police, Military, Security Services, Coastguard, Emergency Services, Prison Service, Close Protection vehicles, VIP vehicles, those that require protection. And of course those that wish to continue to drive high value cars. Also not forgetting our two wheel friends the motorcyclists.

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While I do not have eyes in the back of my head, I do have mirrors on the vehicles I drive. I also do not drink and drive and am able to drive a vehicle when a light dusting of snow obscures the white road markings. Come back to me Mr Schmidt when your driverless car can cope with snow.
David, Suffolk

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