Germany greenlights self-driving vehicle tests on public roads

Germany greenlights self-driving vehicle tests on public roads


Germany’s large automotive industry will soon be able to test self-driving cars in their home-country. The upper house of parliament approved a law on Friday that enables manufacturers to test vehicles on public roads for the first time.

The legislation requires a human driver to remain in the vehicle at all times and a black box must be kept inside the car to ascertain when the computer takes control of the vehicle.

See Also: BMW self-drives to Level 5 autonomy by 2021?

Under the new law, if a car crashes while in autonomous mode, the manufacturer will take the blame, according to Reuters. This could put off tech giants like Google and Uber, which have both called for the California DMV to not blame manufacturers for accidents.

Finally letting go of the wheel

Drivers will be allowed to take their hands off the wheel during tests and take their eyes off the road, effectively giving manufacturers Level 4 autonomy privileges.

The law will be revisited in two years and the German parliament intends to keep up with the rate of innovation in the space. The introduction of self-driving cars on public roads could push larger investment from Volkswagen, Daimler, and BMW, who already rank high on strategy and execution, according to a report from Navigant Research.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for self-driving legalization last year, around the same time the U.K. confirmed that it would legalize the vehicles.

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