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London's transport chiefs are in talks with Google, in an attempt to lure the tech giant to extend its driverless car test trials to the streets of London.
The deputy mayor of transport for the capital, Isabel Dedring said that members of the department recently met with Google in order to try and convince the tech giant to expand its driverless car test pilot programme to London, the Guardian reported.
If the two parties come to an agreement, it would be the first time that Google autonomous cars are tested outside the US. Explaining the decision to lure Google driverless cars to the capital, Dedring said, "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. 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."
Google's autonomous car project began in 2009 and has since, logged more than 1.4 million miles of driving within the US. The tech giant's line of driverless cars has been designed to operate based on its customised software and sensor systems. The shape of the cars is more rotund than other driver-controlled cars. This is so the vehicle can use its inbuilt cameras, lasers and radars to detect objects surrounding it in all directions.
So far, test trials for Google's driverless cars have been limited to two cities in the US, Austin in Texas and Mountain View, California, which also happens to be Google's home base. Recently, Google added Kirkland, Washington to its trial base as well, in order to determine how well the vehicle would work in wet weather.
London would be a great addition in terms of wet weather driving testing; perhaps, that is one of the persuasive arguments the capital's transport chiefs put forward to Google. UK transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said that the government will invest in eight driverless projects, opining that the technology has the potential to "profoundly change the way we travel within years".