UK Government and Google in talks over autonomous vehicles

Recently uncovered documents by The Telegraph have shown that the UK government has been talking to Google about its autonomous driving program for the past two years.

The documents, which were obtained under the Freedom of Information act (FoI), show that Google X, the company's experimental division, has had five meetings with the Department of Transport, to discuss matters such as safety and the infrastructure needed to support such vehicles.

It was left unclear if the government will allow the trials on UK roads, even though some companies have already tested their autonomous vehicles in places like Milton Keynes and Coventry.

“Driverless cars will bring great benefits to our society, the economy and road safety and we are investing millions into research and trials for the motoring of the future,” a spokesman for the Department for Transport said.

“The UK is in a unique position to lead the way for the testing of connected and autonomous vehicles. We are making sure our laws are in step with this fast evolving technology and are working with industry to keep the UK at the forefront of its development.”

Google X's head of policy, Sarah Hunter, met with government officials in February this year, stating afterwards the tech company was “very positive about the non-regulatory approach being taken in the UK [which] places the UK in a good position and could be seen as an example of best practice."

The Department for Transport's Michael Hurwitz explained Google's driverless cars initiative is very important to show the UK's momentum in the area.