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On Legal Aspects of Automation


The development of automated vehicles presents the law with considerable challenges, which, however, can be overcome.


The first step is to identify relevant areas of law, a task which at least has already been attempted in part. Interpretation of current laws is faced with the task of applying existing legal norms to new legal situations. This, too, should not pose insurmountable problems; for the time being, there is no need for legislative changes in the areas of civil liability, criminal liability and provider liability in particular.


In contrast, in the area of road traffic law there is a need for certain provisions either to be changed or clarified. The German Highway Code, for example, as it stands now, does not allow the registration and use of partly autonomous or autonomous vehicles. In order to amend the Code, as well as other provisions of national road traffic law, the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic of 1968, the international agreement upon which national law is based, would (first) need to be amended.


Data protection law is another area of current European law which presents problems. Cars and trucks of the future will collect and store immense amounts of data, which, because of interconnectedness, could be exchanged between vehicles or stored on external servers.


This presents a very tough test for data protection. New technologies, as currently under discussion in connection with “big data”, are not compatible with European data protection law as it has developed over decades.


AdaptIVe takes further initiative to discuss these challenges during the legal aspects workshop in Paris, FR on September 17th, 2015.

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