Google holds several talks with UK government officials to advance driverless cars plan

Search giant Google has held numerous meetings with the Department for Transport (DfT) over the last two years to discuss its driverless cars.

According to reports in the Telegraph, Google has had five face-to-face meetings with government ministers. The reports suggest Google is eyeing the UK as a key market for its driverless vehicles.

Records show Google praising the UK's approach to autonomous vehicles with Sarah Hunter, Google X head of policy, saying after one meeting in February the company was "very positive about the non-regulatory approach being taken in the UK [which] places the UK in a good position and could bee seen as an example of best practice."

During a meeting at Google X's California headquarters in July Hunter commented the UK had "shown remarkable leadership in this area". The minutes of the meeting show DfT head of technology, Michael Hurwitz, stating discussions with the company had "emphasised our desire to work with Google to ensure the UK stays ahead."

Though most of the documents, obtained under a Freedom of Information request, have been censored to protect commercial interests they do show Google's interest in how driverless cars will be insured. At July's meeting, Hunter "noted the development of innovative insurance models as an area for UK leadership and a question Google are interested in". The DfT offered to refer Google to the Bank of England to discuss further.

Others present at the meetings included Chris Urmson, head of Google's driverless cars unit, and head of business Jennifer Haroon. Various government officials, including those from the Treasury and UK Trade and Investment, have been present.

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