“I can tell you that in 2020 Tokyo, self-driving cars will be running around, and you will be able to use them to move around” – Prime Minister Shizo Abe, October 2017.
There is no doubt that Japan is focussed on utilising its role as host city for the Olympics in 2020 to showcase its technological prowess in the field of driverless cars. However, while both the Government and a number of Japanese auto manufacturers have set themselves ambitious goals, there are a number of legal and regulatory issues that need to be resolved in order for these goals to be realised.
On 15 January 2019, the European Parliament adopted a non-binding resolution on Autonomous driving in European transport. The resolution clearly recognises the benefits of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs), urges for further regulatory reform in this area, and calls for future EU policies and legislation to cover all modes of connected and automated transport (not just road transport).
In May 2018, Herbert Smith Freehills’ Sydney office hosted the conference “Driving forward with connected and autonomous vehicles“, the final in a series of similar events hosted in New York, London and across Asia. The Sydney conference brought together participants from government and the private sector, including infrastructure providers, data analysts, insurers and technology investors, to discuss how government and businesses can work together to best prepare for the advent of CAVs.
Herbert Smith Freehills recently hosted a series of panel discussions with expert speakers, discussing a range of topics within connected and autonomous vehicles and technologies. This video provides highlights of the key questions, challenges and potential solutions that were discussed during the panel sessions and that are expected to arise as connected and autonomous vehicles are developed and commercialised.
Regulation of autonomous vehicles in China is moving fast. The recent municipal and national road testing rules have laid the foundation for Testing Entities to test their autonomous driving systems in China. We expect to see intensive testing activities in major cities in China in the coming months and more test permits being granted. In choosing the right location for road testing, Testing Entities should ensure they are aware of the applicable regulatory regime, the nuances of the relevant road testing rules and the approach taken by local governments and Authorized Institutions in implementing those rules. The regulatory landscape in China is still developing and requires carefully navigation if companies are to be able to successfully test their vehicles.
On 18 December 2017, the first road testing regulations for autonomous driving vehicles (ADVs) in China were released in Beijing (Beijing Regulations). The Beijing Regulations have been issued jointly by the departments responsible for transport, traffic police and industry in Beijing (Beijing Authorities). In the absence of nationwide regulations, the Beijing Regulations mark the first step taken by the government to permit and regulate road testing activities for ADVs in China. Although the Beijing Regulations have been implemented on a trial basis, they are set to influence the drafting of road testing regulations by local governments outside Beijing and, potentially, nationwide.
In this article, we set out the current legal environment for ADV road testing and highlight the key points that companies should pay attention to in respect of the Beijing Regulations.