Google Could Soon Test Its Self-Driving Cars On The Streets Of London


The next stop on Google's list to test out self-driving cars could be London.

According to reports, Google and transport chiefs in London are in "active discussions," where the latter is attempting to convince the tech company to carry out tests in the capital.

"It's going to have to work in big cities, so why don't we start trialling it now? Google have said they are focused on the US, but they're starting to think about going elsewhere, so we're in active discussions," Isabel Dedring, deputy mayor for transport, said.

She also mentioned that she and other officials met with Google representatives a few weeks back, trying to see whether the company will extend its tests to London. She noted that they would be "keen for trials to happen in London whenever Google are ready to move them into other countries."

So far, Google has tested self-driving cars in its hometown of Mountain View, California, and Austin, Texas. It's also worth noting that the company is set to launch tests in Kirkland, Washington, soon to see how the vehicles will perform on a hilly terrain and under rainy weather.

The company started the project back in 2009, where the fleets of driverless cars are estimated to have made 1.4 million miles in total.

Powered by electric batteries, these vehicles make use of sensors and advanced software to safely travel. As such, they sport a rounded form factor to accommodate equipment such as lasers, radars and cameras to identify their surroundings and steer clear of collisions or bumps. With that said, it features an interior that's "designed for riding, not for driving."

The UK government announced that it intends to invest £20 million (about $29 million) in eight self-driving car projects earlier this week. Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin says that it'll significantly cut down the number of accidents, ease traffic and make transportation in a car more convenient than traditional means, noting that the technology will "profoundly change the way we travel within years."

Dedring also points out that one of the advantages with autonomous cars is that a city can build smaller tunnels, as they do not abide by the same safety requirements.

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