German Federal Council votes in favor of autonomous driving


Source: pixabay/falco


German Federal Council votes in favor of autonomous driving

The German Federal Council has approved the "Regulation on the Operation of Motor Vehicles with Automated and Autonomous Driving Functions." This means that the registration and regular operation of corresponding vehicles on designated routes in Germany is now possible.

Compared with the government draft, the chamber of the federal states has made several changes that are intended above all to facilitate practical implementation. Among other things, there is now no longer any provision for a technical visual inspection before each journey; instead, a check by the owner before the start of operation is sufficient. In addition, a trained engineer is no longer required for remote monitoring of the robot cars.

However, the German Federal Council still requires the government to make several specific changes. For example, it still has to be regulated how the securing of an accident site without a driver, as required by the Road Traffic Act, can work in practice. It is also unclear which regulations apply if the supervisors are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The Regulation primarily relates to cars that are driving autonomously without a driver, i.e., without a safety driver on board. These so-called Level 4 vehicles are primarily robotic cabs, shuttle buses or automated delivery vans. Level 4 technology is not likely to play a major role for private cars for the time being.

Driverless driving is only permitted in specific, defined operating areas that may not be left by the vehicle. Operators must obtain approval from the authorities for each of these operating areas. These can be specific inner-city regions or a university campus, but also highway stages or special sections of other roads.
During operation, the robot cars have to be monitored by a kind of control room – referred to in the draft as a “tactical supervisor” – which intervenes in the event of problems or hazards but does not permanently monitor what is happening.

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