Germany, Italy and France have jointly backed a small change to a United Nations Convention on Road Traffic that would likely impact positively the automakers strive to bring sooner the first self-driving cars.
The almost unknown amendment that was pushed by the three countries with strong contenders for the autonomous car race now allows drivers of any self-driving vehicle take their hands of the wheel of such cars.
“Today I am only allowed to take my hands off the wheel to a limited extent. Thankfully the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic has been changed,” said Thomas Weber, head of Group research at Daimler and head of development at Mercedes-Benz.
So far, the autonomous vehicle has been for years the push of technology companies rather than automakers, as American tech pioneers aimed to showcase their superior computing power, rather than work out a viable project – with the notable exception of Google.
Now, automakers seem better equipped to take the technology into their research and development units, as several – including Daimler or Nissan – have announced they aim to bring an affordable option to the autonomous scenario by the end of the decade.
Meanwhile, the amendment agreed last month by the UN Working Party on Road Traffic Safety needs to clear all bureaucratic obstacles and then be adopted by the 72 countries that take part in the convention – with the only notable exception from the are being China.