The UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) has held a number of chats with Google over driverless cars. Details of the meetings came to light under the UK’s Freedom of Information laws and revealed there have been five meetings between the two parties since the beginning of 2014.
The discussions took place in both California and London according to the Telegraph. The information records Google X research division boss Sarah Hunter as saying the DfT was adopting a non-regulatory attitude and this could lead to the UK being at the forefront of the launch of autonomous cars.
Minutes of another meeting show Ms Hunter lauded DfT technology supremo Michael Hurwitz for his determination to collaborate with Google and ensure the UK had a role in the industry. One area of the discussions has focussed on how insurance would be applied to cars without drivers.
The US technology and internet innovator has been leading the way in the development of autonomous drive vehicles. Its prototypes are estimated to have travelled one million miles on American roads over the past three years.
The research team has developed a lidar laser sensor which can ‘see’ other vehicles, pedestrians and obstacles on roads. Google says lidar technology should be available for general release within the next five years.
For its part, the UK government has ploughed significant sums into research on autonomous cars. It has also vowed to amend laws to encourage their use. Advocates of the technology claim it will consign road accidents to history and reduce congestion on the country’s highway system.