Imagine a beautiful island that is covered with grand castles, remarkable horse-drawn carriages that date back to 1876, and breathtaking views of the Irish Sea. Now picture this island– home to 90,000 people and is the size of Chicago becoming an early adopter of driverless cars.
Such is the case for the Isle of Man, a small self-governed island between Ireland and Britain. In current history, the island became famous for another vehicle—the motorcycle. Isle of Man is home to the Tourist Trophy or TT, as it is more commonly known, which is the oldest race in motorcycle history. Today, the government of Isle of Man heading back into the spotlight by inviting companies leading the race in driverless cars to test new automotive tech on the island.
Larger countries like the U.S. take a long time to process new technology and adjust laws compared to Isle of Man, which can change its laws within a few months to allow companies to begin testing. In 2015, Google started testing its self-driving cars in Texas and just announced that they will head to Washington state by the end of this month, but it remains to be seen how many regulatory hoops self-driving cars will have to go through in the U.S. before extensive deployment is possible. If the legislation passes in Isle of Man, this could be the first large-scale unrestricted and public tests of fully autonomous vehicles!
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