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Germany to revise autonomous driving laws?

German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt taking a hands-off approach (Photo: Audi)

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Angelo Rychel
Angelo Rychel
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Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt proposes alterations to legislation for self-driving cars to keep Germany in a leading position.

Following pressure from a number of car companies, Germany’s Minister for Transport Alexander Dobrindt is once again turning his attention to the driverless paperwork. Leading business newspaper Handelsblatt writes that Dobrindt will submit new traffic laws by the end of this month. The goal? According to Die Zeit, it is “to make Germany the lead supplier for automated and networked vehicles.”

As reported by Reuters, Dobrindt is looking to push through a draft that will mean that drivers of automated vehicles will no longer have to pay attention to traffic or concentrate on steering whilst driving, but that they must remain seated at the wheel (and the brakes) so they can intervene in an emergency. In addition, as outlined by Die Zeit, producers of automated cars could also have to install “black boxes” that will record when automated driving systems are activated, when the driver is in control and at what point a car orders a driver to take over (and the time it takes them to do so).

Many automated vehicles in the U.S. already have data recorders in place – devices that will prove very useful in determining just what went wrong in the recent fatal Tesla crash.

Although the U.S. and Germany are in pole position when it comes to developing driverless technology, a number of differences in approach, testing and legislation remain. Dobrindt has made these announcements at a time when investigations into crashes in the U.S. are underway and when some warn that America’s bold approach to regulation could see Europe left in their wake.

Read the Handelsblatt article here, Reuters here and Die Zeit here.

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