Germany approved autonomous vehicles’ projects driven on the public roads from next year. Lawmakers’ new rules for self-driving cars, driverless buses and other autonomous vehicles is expected to hit the streets of Germany soon. According to German government it will be the world’s first legal framework for integrating autonomous vehicles into regular traffic. The bill modifies traffic laws to allow autonomous vehicles to be used on a regular basis throughout Germany and also focuses on vehicles with fully autonomous systems that fall under the “Level 4” classification, which means that the computer will control and monitor the vehicle without the need of a human driver. The bill is written to be as versatile as possible, according to the Transportation Ministry, and the new rules do not require a human driver to be on standby.
Individual licenses, exceptions, and specifications, such as the presence of a safety assurance driver who is able to act, will not be needed, according to the ministry. Before now, self-driving cars were restricted to “People Movers” in commercial and industrial zones. According to German government, the bill will allow for the usage of driverless shuttle buses, as well as automated public transit buses that will run on predetermined paths beginning of 2022.
Autonomous vehicles will be allowed to carry merchandise as well and “dual-mode vehicles” could be used for automatic valet parking. According to public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk, self-driving cars for the general public will be allowed to drive in normal traffic, though analysts say it would take years for the vehicles to become well-known in the marketplace. Even though the ultimate aim for researchers is to reduce the number of tragic traffic with self-driving cars, there are a significant challenges in improving the safety of autonomous vehicles. Transportation Ministry’s goal is Germany to be the first country worldwide to take autonomous vehicles from research laboratories to streets. German automobile industry also applauded the decision, seeing it as a significant chance to become a “world market leader” in the region. The Green opposition members have expressed support for the measure by claiming it might aid in the fight against climate change though a bigger vision for the use of technology is still lacking.