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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.