The German government is making it easier to use autonomous cars and buses, making them possible in defined zones nationwide. In the future, shuttle buses and freight transports will be allowed to operate in regular mode over short distances, according to the law on autonomous driving, which the federal cabinet approved on Wednesday.
The regulations apply to level four fully automated driving. This allows vehicles to travel completely autonomously, but a driver must be on board to intervene in certain situations. According to the Federal Ministry of Transport, this makes Germany the first country to put cars without drivers into regular operation. Only in stage five is the human only a passenger and only has to become active in emergencies.
Until now, autonomous vehicles were only on the road with special permits, for example on company premises as so-called people movers. In addition, the automotive industry has already installed automatic systems for overtaking, lane changing or braking in high-end models. The goal is fully autonomous driving, which should also bring the number of fatalities and injuries in road traffic to almost zero, as most accidents are caused by human error.