Germany is poised to be the first country to clear autonomous vehicles for everyday use.
According to Deutsche Welle, Germany’s lower house of parliament has passed a bill that paves the way for autonomous vehicle integration, with the bill moving to the upper chamber for passage. The bill would allow autonomous vehicles to be a standard part of daily traffic, with minimal restrictions.
“Individual permits, exceptions and requirements — such as the presence of a safety assurance driver who is always ready to intervene — would not be necessary,” the Transportation Ministry said in a statement.
In order to qualify, however, they must be Level 4 autonomous vehicles. Autonomous vehicles are ranked (via TechRepublic) from Level 0 to Level 5, with Level 0 having no autonomous ability and Level 5 requiring no human control whatsoever. Level 4 is still considered “fully autonomous,” even though it may not cover every conceivable driving scenario. Instead, Level 4 is focused on “operational design domain (ODD)” performance.
Currently, there are no Level 4 vehicles available. In fact, Honda recently made headlines when it announced the world’s first Level 3 autonomous vehicle. As a result, it may be some time before there are vehicles available that meet Germany’s threshold. Nonetheless, once the bill goes into effect, Level 4 vehicles should be approved as of 2022.
“Germany will be the first country worldwide to take autonomous vehicles from the research laboratories to the streets,” said Transportation Minister Andreas Scheuer in a statement. “We are now a major step closer to that goal.