Germany Aims to be First to Allow Driverless Cars Nationwide

Category: Technology/Innovations


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. pioneer / ˌpaɪ əˈnɪər / (n) – the first to do, create, or develop new ideas or methods for something

    The retail store is a pioneer in the use of drones for delivery.

  2. bid / bɪd / (n) – an attempt to achieve or get something

    The company made a deal with the foreign ad agency in a bid to reach international markets.

  3. enact / ɛnˈæk / (v) – to officially make something into a law

    The new traffic law was enacted last Monday.

  4. early on / ˈɜr li ɒn / (adv) – during the first stages of something

    James knew that he wanted to become a school principal early on in his teaching career.

  5. neglect / nɪˈglɛkt / (v) – to fail to give the care or attention that someone or something needs

    Some companies neglect their employees’ welfare to earn more profit.


Read the text below.

The German government is aiming to be the pioneer in permitting self-driving cars on public roads.

In early September, German public officials and automotive industry executives participated in an online conference to discuss the country’s struggling automotive industry. In a bid to make Germany the world leader in autonomous driving, the parties decided to draft a law that will make the country the first to allow driverless vehicles on streets nationwide. They hope to enact the legislation by 2022.

The online conference was hosted by Chancellor Angela Merkel. In addition to the new law, the parties also discussed the possibility of developing a data center dedicated to self-driving vehicles. This data center would be used to store and process the enormous amounts of information that self-driving vehicles need to operate.

Some critics claim that the plans are too ambitious because self-driving cars for sale are not yet capable of operating fully without human intervention. On the other hand, supporters believe that creating guidelines for self-driving cars early on has advantages. For one, putting regulations in place before fully self-driving vehicles come to the mass market could ensure better road safety in the future.

Aside from self-driving vehicles, the parties also tackled gasoline-powered cars during the meeting. The government reportedly decided against charging additional fees for people who buy non-electric cars. Because of this, Germany’s Green party accused the government of neglecting the environment. After the meeting, environmental activists protested and demanded the government move swiftly toward carbon-free transportation.

Another meeting will be held in November to further discuss plans for electric driverless cars.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think there should be driverless cars on the road by 2022? Why or why not?
• What do you think car companies can do to prevent accidents when driverless cars become more common? Discuss.

Discussion B

• What do you think are the pros and cons of using a driverless car? Discuss.
• If you had the chance, would you like to own a driverless car? Explain.