Driverless buses and other autonomous vehicles may soon hit the streets of Germany after MPs in the lower house of parliament approved new rules for self-driving cars.
The bill is now being submitted to the upper house of parliament for approval. Once approved, it will be the world’s first legal framework for integrating autonomous vehicles into regular traffic, according to the German government.
The bill changes the traffic rules to allow autonomous vehicles to be used on a regular basis throughout Germany.
It specifically refers to vehicles with fully autonomous systems that fall under the “Level 4” classification, where the computer is in full control of the vehicle and does not require a human driver to control or monitor it.
Until now, special permits were required for unmanned vehicles – mostly they were only allowed in commercial and industrial areas.
The German government says the bill will allow driverless shuttles and autonomous public transport buses to operate on established routes starting in 2022.
Autonomous vehicles will also be allowed to carry goods.
Self-driving cars for the general public will also be allowed in normal traffic, although experts estimate that it will take years before these vehicles hit the market.