Google has become known for a number of key products and services over the years, and across the pond in the UK, Google is a big deal just as it is at home in the US. Google Maps has been serving up turn-by-turn navigation for UK drivers for some time now, and the majority of their services are all available there. Speaking of driving, Google has become known for their self-driving cars project over the past year or so, and it looks as though they could be looking to bring them to the UK.
The Telegraph has reports of meetings that took place earlier this year between Google UK and representatives from the UK Government. While parts of these meetings have, unsurprisingly, been redacted it appears as though Sarah Hunter, head of Policy for Google X in the UK as well as representatives from the UK Treasury as well as UK Trade & Investment sat down together in February of this year. Hunter described the “the non-regulatory approach being taken in the UK” positively and noted that it “places the UK in a good position and could be seen as an example of best practice”.
These meetings took place from July last year all the way through to June of this year, and while there are definitely no concrete plans to bring the self-driving car to the UK, it seems as if both Google and the UK Government are more than open to the idea. The prospect of how to insure these autonomous vehicles was a point of discussion as well, which is unsurprising as car insurance has always been a big deal in the UK. Meetings with the Department for Transport concerning the issue of insurance saw Google being referred to the Bank of England who is said to be “doing modelling activity on [the] insurance sector and want to speak to Google”. While all of this might not suggest a move across the pond for Google’s self-driving cars, it certainly seems like a step in the right direction for both parties. Self-driving cars could end up being perfect in tight cities with pre-defined lanes as well as lots of traffic, but out on the country lanes where things are a little more windy and difficult they could face some serious challenges.