Where does Germany sit in the AV race?

Recent activities indicate that German authorities are keen to lead autonomous driving efforts not only in Europe, but globally. By Freddie Holmes

Home to some of the automotive industry’s biggest automakers, suppliers and technology companies, Germany has been at the forefront of Europe’s efforts on autonomous vehicles (AVs). New regulation could accelerate activities, and commercial services may not be far off as a result.

Special report: Autonomous vehicle regulation

In July 2021, the government issued an update to its road traffic regulations to further the development of automated driving. The amendment builds on the original Act on Automated Driving, which came in June 2017. While this focussed on regulating Level 3 systems, which can be activated if certain conditions are met, the new law will establish a regulatory framework for Level 4 systems. Defined by SAE as being highly autonomous, these vehicles will be allowed to operate in regular traffic—albeit in defined operational areas—across Germany. Conditions such as the presence of a safety driver, the act says, will be “unnecessary.”

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