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Talking Schmidt: Google to soon bring its driverless cars to the UK, humans don’t have eyes in the back of their head yet


Speaking in South Korea (where he was also seen using an iPhone), Eric Schmidt addressed the possibility of Google’s driverless cars expanding outside of the United States. In an interview with The Telegraph, Schmidt explained that UK officials have approached the company about bringing its self-driving vehicles to the streets.

“One of [Britain’s] leaders suggested we pick a city and start testing there, so we are evaluating these things,” Schmidt said in the interview

The Google chairman noted, however, that expanding Google’s self-driving car initiative is challenging because it has to go through so much regulatory approval. Even in the United States, the project has to be independently approved by each and every state before it can be expanded. The process is no different for additional countries, with every country having to issue approval before the cars hit the streets:

“We have to get permission from the Government to have these things coexist, we have to go through country by country and state by state in the US, so we are working through that, it takes forever.”

Furthermore, Schmidt says that eventually, everyone will be in a self-driving car. He explained that more than 94 percent of accidents are caused by human error, so a self-driving car eliminates that factor. He also made the astute observation that we humans do not have eyes in the back of our heads, while self-driving cars do. Schmidt also says that self-driving cars won’t be able to get drunk like humans:

“Eventually you will all be in a self driving car in some form or another. It’s a combination of technology getting better, but also regulations have to evolve. I haven’t met any people with eyes in the back of their head yet, but self-driving cars have eyes behind them. The car has better vision than you, it can see 360 degrees, and it doesn’t get drunk. So that has to be an improvement.”

Last week, however, a Google self-driving car hit a bus and caused damage to itself. The accident could be the first one in which Google’s car is at fault. Recently released images show the aftermath of the wreck. 

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Avatar for Chance Miller Chance Miller


Chance currently writes for both 9to5Google and 9to5Mac, in addition to 9to5Toys.