The German Government is preparing landmark legislation that could commercialise driverless vehicle technology by next summer. If passed, it could be the first comprehensive legal framework covering both homologation and road traffic requirements for robotaxis in which the computer controls the vehicle at all times.
The hope is to have the draft approved by Germany’s lower house of parliament before it starts its summer break next year. It is at that point that passing legislation takes a back seat to campaigning for the country’s 2021 general election.
The draft legislation is currently undergoing interdepartmental revisions, which is why it has not been made public yet. Any proposal would have to be passed by the entire cabinet before being sent to German members of parliament and finally to the upper house that represents the country’s 16 federal states.
This would cover the most advanced form of L4 autonomous driving, in which the vehicle would be able to steer itself in almost any circumstance within tightly defined parameters known as an Operational Design Domain.
“Germany is making a great step signaling both to the European Union as well as the rest of the world the common excuse that regulators are holding up viable business models is no longer valid”, said Ricky Hudi, a former executive vice president for electronics development at Audi. “This represents a huge opportunity to drive innovation in the industry and it’s not geared just to the German carmakers: it’s open to any provider around the world.”