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Legal challenges of automated driving



Successful market introduction and widespread application of automated driving functions is also dependent on the legal environment. AdaptIVe has taken an integrated approach and thus strived to identify issues requiring further attention from the legal perspective. Specific challenge thereby lies in the relevance of to date human-related rules on driving: the basic concept of human-related rules on driving increasingly require application to automated driving functions.


Starting point for legal evaluation has been a harmonised system classification on different types of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and automated driving. The classification sets the standard for current and future work in terms of common understanding. A scenario-based approach to the legal evaluation complements this important underlying harmonisation of understanding.


Whilst commonly highlighted as the “legal barrier” at international level, the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic (VC) has recently undergone transition. An amendment to Art. 8 VC, taking effect in March 2016, has – in brief – enabled automated driving technologies as far as they are either subject to UN regulations or remain overrideable, respectively can be switched off which is the case for the very most automated driving functions today. The Vienna Convention has therefore considerably opened up for Level 3 and 4 automation and now leads to consequent discussions on technical requirements for whole vehicle type approval in terms of underlying international regulations within Working Party 29 of the UNECE.


AdaptIVe has also taken a very unique approach to legal assessment by compiling the views taken at member states level. As to be expected, the resulting overview remains heterogeneous and strongly represents the need for further international discussion in order to reach broader understanding which is thus made transparent. As a result, it can be found that in general automation remains very much in line with legal requirements, especially if the primary role of the driver is represented. This reflects high adaptability of legal requirements to current technical developments on the one hand whilst on the other attention is raised to remaining uncertainties. These uncertainties will require further discussion since technical developments promise to be beneficial for traffic safety and therefore deserve high attention.


See also the previous news articles on legal issues:

Experts discuss legal aspects of automated driving (22/09/2015)

On Legal Aspects of Automation (27/04/2015)

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