Germany

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Germany has been studying the automated vehicles to analyse which legal aspects should be changed in their legislation, and this different changes will relate to the levels of automation. A joint work of the Working Group of the German Federal Highway Institute (BASt) had a considerable impact; it is the first study that made an extensive legal assessment with respect to regulatory law and liability law, offering a classification of the levels of automation from a policy perspective. This definition was the source of the NHTSA levels and eventually the SAE standard.

The study suggested that the legislation in Germany will allow partial automation levels on public roads. The BASt also proposed to work on other dimensions like the speed range and utilisation time. They proposed three speed ranges from manoeuvring level, traffic jam or city speed and highways, and three utilisation times: short, medium and long. These concepts are further explored in the RESPONSE4 activity of the AdaptIVe project.

The German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure established a Round Table “Automated Driving” in November 2013. This Round Table can be considered as a national platform where all relevant stakeholder groups (Federal Ministries involved, public authorities, industry, insurance companies, user associations, technical inspection, research institutes) are represented. The operational work is done by the Working Groups “Legal Issues”, “Driver/Vehicle” and “Research”. The objectives are building a consensus with respect to core issues of automated driving thereby creating basic precondition for the implementation of highly automated driving. This national platform also acts as an advisory board of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure.

In the 10th of June of 2015, the plenary session of the Round Table approved the reports submitted by the Working Groups. They discussed issues and challenges relating to automated driving, including the approval procedures for automated systems, questions of liability and research requirements. The report is publicly available.

In addition, the plenary session of the Round Table had set itself the objective of developing strategic benchmarks for the evolution of automated driving over the period to 2020. At its meeting on 10 June 2015, the plenary session adopted these strategic benchmarks. The benchmarks focus on the introduction of highly automated driving by 2020 and address several thematic areas. This is based on the likely scenarios for the deployment of highly automated vehicles. As deployment scenarios for 2020, the focus will be on the motorway and multi-storey car park environments.

“New Vehicle and System Technologies” research programme was published by the German Federal Ministry of Economic affairs and Energy in June 2015. That year’s Spetember, Germany’s Minister of Transport announced a project that will see a section of the A9 autobahn that connects Berlin and Munich set it up for autonomous vehicle testing. Infrastructure provisions for vehicle-to-vehicle communication will be included in the project.

In September ahead of the Frankfurt motor show, the BMVI published its "Strategy for automated and networked driving“ in which Germany wants to “establish a legal framework in which an automated and networked vehicle can autonomously take over driving tasks, without the driver having to constantly monitor the system.” The strategic paper focuses on the “Legal Certainty” needed for deployment of automated vehicles which includes work on:

  • International Legal Framework: extension of the definition of driver, R79, …
  • National Legal Framework: allow use of automated and networked vehicles, consider situations where the system performs the driving,…
  • Driver Training: handover and takeover of the driving task,…
  • Technical Approval and Inspection: adoption of Code of Practice, PTI,…