15 May Germany passes law allowing self driving cars tested on the roads

May 15, 2017 | by Iqtidar Ali

Last Friday German Federal Council approved the law allowing self driving vehicles to be tested cross country with some conditions applied. Germany became the first country to pass a country-wide legislation unlike United States where every State has difference of opinion about the matter.

The law was first proposed by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel last year. The legislation allows drivers to take their hands off the steering wheel and even take your eyes off the road but stipulates that a human must always be present behind the steering wheel to take control when the system alerts the driver to take over.

Self Driving Legislation Conditions/Stipulations:

 

  • – A human driver must always be present behind the steering wheel to take over
  • – The law binds the manufacturers to have a black-box present in the vehicle for keeping the record of an incident and justifying responsible party
  • – The driver will be held responsible for an accident occurred while the system alerted to take over
  • – Max liability for Personal Injury would be 10 million Euros
  • – Max liability for damage to property is limited to 2 million Euros
  • – In case of a system/software failure the manufacturer would be held responsible
  • – The law will be re-evaluated in 2019 to comply with the then made advancements in the autonomous capabilities and conditions

(loosely based on legislation details publicly available). Source : Reuters / Spiegel.de

German automotive giants like Volkswagen and Mercedes already have accelerated their autonomous vehicle plans and intend to launch self driving cars in the coming years. Volvo also announced a few years ago they will bring 100 autonomous cars on the roads of Gothenburg, Sweden by 2017 but we still have no updates from them on this. It will also lower the testing cost of autonomous vehicles for the German automakers enabling them to test locally instead of flying their cars to California.

This legislation would also enable U.S manufacturers of self driving cars such as Tesla to further penetrate into the German market as their cars have the most advanced autonomous hardware & software capabilities at the moment. With continuous over-the-air updates to their Autopilot 2.0 software they are targeting to reach full autonomy in 2 years according to Elon Musk.

German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt(CSU) had described automated driving as;

The greatest mobility revolution since the invention of the automobile.

Let’s see a Tesla in full self-driving mode in the video below.

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