Germany gives green light to driverless vehicles on public roads – TechCrunch
Germany has passed legislation that will allow driverless vehicles on public roads by 2022, paving the way for companies to roll out robotaxis and delivery services in the country on a large scale. While autonomous testing is currently permitted in Germany, it would allow driverless vehicles to operate without a human safety operator behind the wheel.
The bill, which was passed last week by the Bundestag, the lower house of the German parliament, specifically concerns vehicles with level 4 range. Level 4 range is a designation of the Society of Automobile. Engineers (SAE), which means the computer manages all driving under certain conditions or environments. In Germany, these vehicles will be limited to geographic areas.
“In the future, autonomous vehicles should be able to operate nationwide without a driver physically present in specified areas of operation of regular road traffic,” read the legislation. “According to the Federal Government, further steps must be taken to introduce the corresponding systems on a regular basis so that the potential of these technologies can be exploited and society can participate in them.”
The bill still has to go through the upper house of parliament, or the Bundesrat. The bill includes possible initial applications for self-driving cars on German roads, such as public passenger transport, business and supply travel, logistics, corporate shuttles that handle employee traffic. and travel between medical centers and retirement homes.
Companies wishing to operate driverless commercial vehicles in Germany will need to adhere to a number of other rules, such as taking out liability insurance and remote access to stop autonomous operations.
Companies that are already testing in Germany could have an advantage in Europe’s largest economy. Argo AI, for example, has been tests its autonomous vehicles at the LabCampus innovation center at Munich Airport. Last June, the company opened its European headquarters in the Bavarian city, and this summer it will be opening its test site in partnership with Volkswagen for testing VW ID.Buzz electric vans. Mobileye, an Intel subsidiary, also has fingerprint testing AVs in Germany.
Several states and countries in the United States have regulations regarding potentially commercial testing and deployment. Last week, Chinese robotaxi startup Pony.ai became the eighth company to be licensed to test driverless vehicles in California, and Nuro is the only company to have a deployment license to operate commercially on public roads in the state. In China, companies like AutoX, backed by Alibaba, are also testing driverless fleets on public roads. German law goes beyond testing in the sense of integration into regular traffic.