The new German measure (you can check them out here) allows autonomous vehicles to circulate on public roads since 2022 without securing drivers behind the wheel. The aim of the measure is to accelerate the development of robotic vehicles and the introduction of robotaxi services in Germany.
Last week's vote in the Bundestag, the lower house of the German parliament, mainly concerns Tier IV autonomous vehicles. In the scale introduced by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the fourth level means that the car takes all control, except for emergencies. And of course, at least in Germany, the circulation of such vehicles will be limited to certain regions.
Autonomous vehicles, facilitated route
"In the future, autonomous vehicles will be able to make regular journeys across the country without a driver. Obviously in specially prepared areas of public highways," the document reads. "The federal government decides that further steps must be taken to introduce appropriate systems into regular operations in order to explore the potential of this technology and provide an opportunity for the public to participate."
The bill has yet to go through the upper house, the Bundesrat, and will come into effect in 2022. It also lists potential applications for robotic vehicles: passenger transport, business travel, logistics, freight delivery, employee transport and flights to medical centers and nursing homes.
Germany is a candidate for the role of leading (autonomous) nation.
Other rules: Companies that will use autonomous vehicles in Germany will also have to meet a number of other requirements. For example, take care to ensure civil liability and set up systems that are able to deactivate the autopilot remotely.
In September last year, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany should play an "innovative role" in regulating self-driving cars, and aims to become the first state to release autonomous vehicles on public roads.