Google will soon begin testing its self-driving cars in London
Google may soon begin testing self-driving vehicles in the UK.
The tech giant has reportedly been in talks with transport bosses in London about the possibility of testing a fleet of autonomous vehicles in the UK capital.
Deputy Mayor for Transport Isabel Dedring was quoted by the BBC as saying that discussions were at an early stage but “we would be keen for trials to happen”.
If everything goes as planned London would become the first city outside the US to have Google’s self-driving cars on its streets.
“It’s going to have to work in big cities, so why don’t we start trialling it now?” asked Isabel Dedring, the U.K.’s deputy mayor for transport. “Google have said they are focused on the US, but they’re starting to think about going elsewhere, so we’re in active discussions.”
“We met them a few weeks ago to see whether they would do trials here,” Dedring continued. “It is 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.”
Dedring added that although she is “personally a bit skeptical about the technology”, the autonomous technology could help make transport safer and cut costs.
The project began in 2009. Over 1.4 million miles have been clocked up by autonomous test vehicles in California and Texas. So far there have been no accidents caused by the cars themselves.
Last month a study revealed that self-driving cars are less likely to crash than cars driven by humans. The study found that Google’s autonomous vehicles, which have been on US roads for six years now, have only been involved in 17 crashes, with all the collisions believed to be the fault of a human driver and not the self-driving car.
Google has reportedly held meetings with the Department for Transport (DfT) for quite some time now, according to documents obtained by the Telegraph. The information obtained by the Telegraph shows that Google held five meetings with the British government between January 2014 and July 2015.
The news comes following an announcement by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin that the UK government will be investing £20m in driverless car projects in the UK. McLoughlin said that autonomous technology would “profoundly change the way we travel within years”.