Germany will allow self-driving, but not driverless, cars on its roads

Self-driving cars will have to carry a "black box" recorder to show who was in charge, the human or the computer, in the event of an accident

IDG

IDG

Add Germany to the list of places where businesses can test their self-driving cars on the open road -- as long as they have a driver sitting at the wheel ready to take control at any time.

That's one of the restrictions imposed by a new law voted by the German Federal Council (Bundesrat) on Friday. 

The move will be a welcome one for Germany's automotive industry, allowing manufacturers such as Audi to test self-driving vehicles in their home country, rather than taking them all the way to California. 

Other requirements of the new law for anyone wanting to put a self-driving car on the German roads include the fitting of a "black box" recorder like those in planes -- with the same goal of helping investigators reconstruct what happened in the event of an accident.

The box will be expected to track the vehicle's position and to record when and where the self-driving system takes control of the vehicle, suffers a technical problem, or requests the driver to take over, allowing the courts to apportion blame. If the car is in control, the manufacturer will be responsible; at all other times, the driver takes responsibility.

The data will be stored for six months and handed to law enforcement officers on request.

With the capabilities of self-driving vehicles changing so quickly, the Federal Council plans to review the law in two years' time.

Requiring the presence of a human is one way to resolve the question of responsibility -- but European Union legislators have entertained another approach, that of granting robots (a category that could include self-driving vehicles) some sort of legal personhood.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Peter Sayer

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?