German lawmakers greenlit a bill that would allow for some autonomous vehicles to hit public roads as early as next year. Deutsche Welle reports: The bill, passed by Bundestag lawmakers in a late-night session on Thursday, changes traffic regulations to allow for autonomous vehicles to be put into regular use across Germany. The bill specifically concerns vehicles with fully autonomous systems that fall under the “Level 4” classification — where a computer is in complete control of the car and no human driver is needed to control or monitor it. Once approved, it would be the world’s first legal framework for integrating autonomous vehicles in regular traffic. According to the Transportation Ministry, the bill was written to be as flexible as possible, with the new regulations not requiring a human driver to be on standby.
Starting in 2022, the German government says the bill would allow for driverless shuttle busses to be put into use, as well as autonomous public transportation busses that would drive on set routes. Autonomous vehicles would also be permitted to transport goods, and “dual-mode vehicles” could be used for automated valet parking. Self-driving cars for the general public would also be permitted in regular traffic, although experts estimate it will take years before the vehicles become established in the market, public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk reported.
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