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What will Laws on Self-Driving Cars look Like?


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What will Laws on Self-Driving Cars look Like?

Following news of the first fatal crash using autopilot mode in the Tesla S in May this year, there has been a rush to formalise rules concerning the use of this technology.

In as much as there is a race between automotive makers to develop the best self-driving car technology, equally, the legislators are moving quickly to set the rules to cover its use.

The German government, for example, is already working on legal standards to cover off liability and establishing guidelines to use when approaching an investigation of a collision involving self-drive cars.

The guidelines state that the driver must maintain a 'minimum of attention' – which means they must stay in front of the steering wheel and have the ability to take immediate control if required.

The law would also require the installation of a black box which is currently in development at the United Nations. In the same way as a plane’s black box provides vital clues when something goes wrong, an autonomous car’s black box will analyse all of the details of an incident or crash.

A pivotal part of the guidelines will be determining a suitable process for when the driver is required by the autonomous technology to re-take the wheel, with the emphasis on a suitably cautious approach to danger.

The government is planning on releasing the new legislation this July 2016, to allow testing to continue unabated.

Just last month, German chancellor Angela Merkel expressed that the process was a priority for Germany – which is home to some of the world's largest car companies – and recommended to the automotive industry that it draw up a 'wish list' of what it requires to move forward.

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