World’s First Draft Law on Autonomous Driving Legislation Presented at The Autonomous Chapter Event

The draft law on autonomous driving presented at the Chapter Event “Safety & Regulation” from The Autonomous could make Germany the first country in the world with legislation for fully driverless vehicles (SAE Level 4).

“From today’s viewpoint, Germany will set regulatory standards worldwide with the new law within the next twelve months,” says Benedikt Wolfers, founder and partner of Posser Spieth Wolfers & Partners, who presented the as yet unpublished draft law at the Chapter Event from The Autonomous. “This could have a lasting impact on the future of autonomous driving – EU-wide and globally.”

“A unified set of regulations will give car manufacturers legal certainty for next-generation autonomous vehicles,” says Ricky Hudi, Chairman of The Autonomous. “Consumers can rely on a unified safety standard and gain confidence in autonomous driving.”

In its fourth Chapter Event this year, The Autonomous has put the spotlight on safety & regulation. The initiative brings together leading actors in autonomous driving as well as government and regulatory representatives to create a common understanding on safety in this field. Through cooperation within the global community, Global Reference Solutions for relevant problems faced in the development and regulation of automated vehicles will be defined that should guarantee the safety of future autonomous mobility.

A proposal for a regulation on the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UN/ECE) level for automated lane-keeping systems was indeed adopted in June 2020 (ALKS). But: “Global regulations for fully autonomous driving from SAE level 4 are not yet in force,“ says Benedikt Wolfers. “Germany is using this regulatory gap at international and EU levels in order to move forward at the national level. If that happens, this will most likely guide other legislators.”

Specifically, the German draft regulation considers the functioning, test procedures for, and approval of, autonomous driving functions, as well as cybersecurity.

Further speakers at the Chapter Event “Safety & Regulation”

Richard Damm, President of the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt) and Chairman of the international expert panel for automated and connected driving of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UN/ECE) gave an overview of the UN/ECE’s regulatory view on safety and autonomous driving. It became clear that the UN/ECE promotes international cooperation and the harmonization of global regulations, but also purposefully leaves room for new technologies and innovations.

Jonathan Morrison, Chief Counsel at NHTSA, the U.S. federal authority responsible for road and vehicle safety, gave an overview of the legal situation in the USA. Unlike in the EU, vehicle types do not require technical approval in the USA to be allowed on the market. Instead, the manufacturer is responsible for ensuring the safety of their products and is liable in the event of faulty automated or autonomous driving functions. The functional safety of autonomous vehicles is therefore necessary in order to avoid defects – and consequently liability claims.

Armin Graeter, Head of Strategy for Autonomous Driving, Driver Assistance at BMW, and Barnaby Simkin, Autonomous Driving Standards at NVIDIA, shared their expertise from a manufacturer and supplier perspective. This included the white paper “Safety First for Automated Driving”, which will lead to the global standard ISO DTR 4804. The white paper goes hand-in-hand with The Autonomous’ approach to developing applicable industry reference solutions conform to the respective standards.

Christian Gnandt, Vice President of Automated Driving at TÜV Süd, explained that the gap between technological development and the necessary regulation continues to be closed as a result of advancing regulatory and standardization initiatives. TÜV Süd is already preparing to evaluate both individual vehicles in the future and the relevant software and processes.

TTTech Auto is the initiating company of The Autonomous. In 2020, Chapter Events by The Autonomous have already addressed different challenges for safe autonomous driving. These include Safety & Architecture, Safety & Artificial Intelligence, Safety & Security as well as Safety & Regulation. The results of the Chapter Events will be presented at The Autonomous’ main event in Vienna on March 10, 2021.