Germany legalizes self-driving cars on public roads

  • June 9, 2021

German Parliament, Bundestag, has passed a set of rules for self-driving vehicles, paving the way for autonomous cars on public roads, thus becoming one of the first countries in the world to completely welcome self-driving cars across the country with minimal restrictions. The bill voted by the Bundestag is to allow fully autonomous cars (Level 4) to be operated throughout the country without the requirement for a human driver. Ministry of Transport confirmed individual permits, exclusions and requirements for presence of a safety-assurance driver ready to react not necessary when applied.

Driverless shuttle buses, logistic-purposes vans and individual self-driving automobiles are to be accessible beginning in 2022. Dual-mode vehicles with autonomous technology controlling parking activities is expected to become very popular. Strong support is provided by German automotive lobby who consider opening up self-driving testbed to boost up local automakers, who are cornerstones of Germany’s economy raising up to 5% of the country’s GDP.

German autonomous vehicles will rely on a mix of local and foreign artificial intelligence technology. Volkswagen plans to begin testing new self-driving vehicles in Germany this summer, which now needs a special authorization. The cars will be powered by self-driving software developed by American team in Argo AI, which VW invested $2.6 billion in last year. VW stated two months ago it will establish a 2,000-person AI team in Detroit. This announcement comes only a month after collaboration with Microsoft to expedite the development of self-driving systems. According to the company, commercial self-driving vehicles will be launched in 2025. Daimler is also working on self-driving vehicles, in part through its US subsidiary Torc Robotics. Last year, from the company announced that working in many directions was safer, and it announced a partnership with Waymo on self-driving trucks.