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United Kingdom Google Transportation Technology

Google Favors Less-Regulated UK For Self-Driving Car Development (telegraph.co.uk) 82

An anonymous reader writes: According to documents obtained by The Telegraph, Google considers the UK a key market for development of its self-driving car program. In one of the five meetings the documents describe, Sarah Hunter, head of Google's experimental SDV division, commented that the company is "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." Google has also escaped excessive regulation in the area of drone development by pursuing Project WinG in the easier regulatory climes of Australia.
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Google Favors Less-Regulated UK For Self-Driving Car Development

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  • Huh? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Monday December 14, 2015 @10:37AM (#51113975)
    The UK as a less regulated environment? Is this April first, or did I accidentally get to the Onion?
    • The UK as a less regulated environment? Is this April first, or did I accidentally get to the Onion?

      North America is horrifically regulated by comparison. Look at the taxi protests in Toronto against Uber. you know what the taxis are really protesting about?

      The police and city council say they are unable to enforce the regulations and bylaws on taxis because they are too complicated.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Indeed, while there is little law governing self driving cars there are some guidelines in place that you think would put them off, like requiring passengers to pretend to drive by holding a fake wheel so as not to surprise real drivers. Considering that Google's cars don't even have steering wheels...

      There is also the extremely poor state of UK roads, basically third world quality for the most part. I suppose in that sense it is probably a good testing ground for sensors, to check that they can distinguish

      • There is also the extremely poor state of UK roads, basically third world quality for the most part.

        Couldn't be any worse than down here in New Orleans.

        Hard to speed in many places down here, as that the entire city is one big speed bump....

      • There is also the extremely poor state of UK roads, basically third world quality for the most part.

        Also the fact that UK roads (like the country as a whole) are desparately overcrowded, narrow, traffic jams everywhere, traffic lights and roundabouts (often combined these days) everywhere, anomalous speed restriction policies, and local council traffic officers' crackpot scheme pet ideas*. I am often confused myself at unfamiliar junctions which traffic light head applies to which lane. I would have though a nation of more wide-open roads would be a better starting ground.

        * Take a look at this lunacy

    • The UK as a less regulated environment?

      I think Google do not understand how the UK legal system works. It is negative rather than positive in that it says what is not allowed rather than what is allowed. On the face of it this is less restrictive (temporarily) because there are no laws against anything that did not occur to the original lawmakers. In fact there are a lot of laws about what is not allowed in driving, but driverless cars were never imagined by the lawmakers, so no particular restrictions currently apply to them. Nevertheless t

      • I think Google do not understand how the UK legal system works. It is negative rather than positive in that it says what is not allowed rather than what is allowed.

        Is there a legal system in the world which is not this way? The US system certainly is.

    • it is pretty funny out of context, but within context this is one more example of over regulations pushing business overseas
      • I was working on self driving cars in university back in the 90's. The advisor to our group held the position that technically it was not a huge challenge, but legally it would be and that self driving cars would not show up first in the US. His guess was Asia or Germany.
    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      The UK as a less regulated environment? Is this April first, or did I accidentally get to the Onion?

      I think Google meant "less stupidly regulated". The UK doesn't mandate tyre pressure monitors because it expects people to be able to check their tyres on a regular basis on their own. Little things like that.

      Also the UK has much better (read, trained and predictable) drivers than the US.

  • How can the UK be a key market when they drive on the wrong side? Spot the irony when self-driving cars start ramming into ongoing traffic because "Oops we forgot to driveOnRightSide = true;"
    • It's you lot who drive on the wrong side, you insensitive clod!
  • The UK is only less regulated because they don't have the OUTSTANDING government infrastructure that we have here in the good 'ol USSA. Europeans in general are slightly less risk averse as we are here in nannyland...
    • The UK is only less regulated because they don't have the OUTSTANDING government infrastructure that we have here in the good 'ol USSA. Europeans in general are slightly less risk averse as we are here in nannyland...

      If the government of USA weren't nannyland it'd go Lord of the Flies in a week.

  • All well and good but will they drive on the wrong side of the freakin' road?
  • Now they have to teach the car to drive on the wrong side of the road.
  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Monday December 14, 2015 @10:50AM (#51114067)

    "Don't regulate us, it's better if you just let us monitor ourselves. Don't worry, you can trust us to do the right thing."

    • Keep telling yourself that, in the meanwhile the manufacturing left for other countries. Regulations are taxes and prohibitions, USA was supposed to be an environment with minimal intervention by any government, that's what the point was, that's why people came to the country after leaving their own, not for more government and regulation and taxes and oppression, for less of that same shit.

      Beside that, what the fuck is 'the right' thing exactly? Are you telling me USA government knows right from wrong?

      • Keep telling yourself that, in the meanwhile the manufacturing left for other countries. Regulations are taxes and prohibitions, USA was supposed to be an environment with minimal intervention by any government, that's what the point was, that's why people came to the country after leaving their own, not for more government and regulation and taxes and oppression, for less of that same shit.

        And would you actually want to live in any of those "other countries" to where the manufacturing has fled and which apparently have a regulatory environment more in line with what you believe in?

        • Of-course, USA used to be the country with the least regulations, taxes and generally government oppression and millions came over.

          That migration was not a coincidence, people move to where there is more economic activity, not where the economy is oppressed, restricted and destroyed by the oppression of the collectivist or any other form of authoritarian government.

          • Of-course, USA used to be the country with the least regulations, taxes and generally government oppression and millions came over.

            That worked when it consisted of lots of little self-regulating high-minded communities like the Pilgrim Fathers and the present-day surviving Amish. Breaks down soon after that. Good job the government does not leave it to individuals to decide which side of the road to drive on.

            That migration was not a coincidence, people move to where they imagine there is more economic activity, not where the economy is oppressed, [blah blah blah etc]

            Correction in bold font for you.

  • BOOOO for the imperial system!!
    • The USA uses the Imperial System.

      We (the UK) use Imperial for road signage and that's about it. Metric for industry, science, education, we even sell petrol in Litres but oddly still use Miles per Gallon for fuel efficiency, probably to obfuscate how much we pay for fuel here.

      • by Nutria ( 679911 )

        The USA uses the Imperial System.

        No, we don't, you ignorant git.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

        The US gallon is, for example, 128 fluid ounces, whereas the Imperial gallon is 160 fl oz which equals 153.7 US fl oz.

        • So US system took all the names of an old system and gave them new definitions? How is that better?

          I don't think that hearing people from the USA refer to Feet, Pounds, Ounces and Gallons and thinking that maybe they're using the system I've been taught those measurements derive from.

      • by Nutria ( 679911 )

        You crazy Brits think that a hundredweight weighs... 112 pounds.

        • And I know of nowhere else that measures weight in "stones". Archaic much?
        • No one uses hundredweight in the UK any more, I used to teach Maths and not even I was aware of 112lb in a Hundredweight. We "weigh" ourselves in Kilograms (regardless of that being a unit of Mass not Weight) now but the previous generation is still using Stones, it's getting less and less common though. At school the imperial system is now completely gone from the curriculum except Miles to Kilometres and a few other memorable conversions such as 60kg is roughly 9 Stone if a students asks.

  • by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Monday December 14, 2015 @11:00AM (#51114141)
    I wonder if they have seen our roads before writing this. There are a number of things which make it much more difficult. Narrow roads, where one car can go at a time, possibly one having to reverse. No jay-walking laws, except for a few motorways people have priority. Narrow country lanes where horses, cyclists etc. have no sense
    • by Viol8 ( 599362 )

      Its almost certainly all those real world examples and more (box junctions, pulling out into a queue of traffic if no one wants to let you in etc) that are going to show that self driving cars are a LONG way from prime time use except on a motorways where everyone is going in the same direction and large US style roads without awkward interchanges.

      • Alternatively, if the self-driving car can handle those situations well it will demonstrate that it's very much ready for "prime time use".
    • by Anonymous Coward

      There's going to be some hilarious exception handling code

      If Road.Class=='DirtTrackInTheMiddleOfFuckingNowhere' & OncomingVehicle=='PolishTruckDriverBlindlyFollowingHisSatNav' {
            CollisionAvoidance.DiveIntoDitch ();
            Horn.Beep (1000);
      }

  • Translation: "We can test our car beta software on real roads. Who cares about the risk to other road users when billions are to be made from this and Larry and Sergei will be able to buy themselves another Yacht (with a human captain naturally)?"

  • There should be a law that the voices on all GPS systems in cars have a working-class Scottish accents.

    "YA MIST THAT LAS' RIGHT TURN YA FOOKIN' COONT MIND YER FOOKIN' DRIVIN OR YER OAN A BURST MOOTH!"

    https://youtu.be/vPKhhne8mCs [youtu.be]

  • The UK land area would fit into California with plenty left over, we're just over half the size. Our population is almost double however, which means almost everywhere is really crowded. We're also used to driving in a reasonably/mostly/hopefully rule-abiding way. I think that makes us a good testbed for driverless cars. Bring it on Google, please.
    • by dave420 ( 699308 )

      "Almost everywhere is really crowded"? Nonsense. The cities are, yes, but there is plenty of sparsely-populated land in the UK. Loads of it. Like, more than densely-populated land.

  • Britons Favour Less-Regulated UK.

  • Will google pay them or try get out of them with some kind of EULA?

  • I've lived in both UK and Canada and also the US. Ironically I lived in London Ontario for half a year then London UK for a year, and have lived there other times.. There’s almost no comparison between the two systems.
    Firstly US and Canadian roads are built on what are essentially grid systems so almost all junctions are 4 way, there are very few curves, and the wholes system is generally a lot simpler. On the outer rural grid systems the Canadian US system works great, and for the most part that I've

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