The next step in legislating for the use of self driving vehicles

The Automated and Electric Vehicles Act 2018 received Royal Assent in July 2018. While providing (in broad terms) for a system of civil liability where an accident is caused by an automated vehicle and establishing core definitions, the Act does not seek to address a number of important issues. Instead, the task of fleshing out the regulatory framework for automated vehicles was referred to the Law Commission of England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission.

On 8 November 2018, the Commissions published a Joint Preliminary Consultation Paper – the first step of a three-year review into the laws and regulations needed to support the introduction of automated vehicles.

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PREPARING AUSTRALIA: CONNECTED AND AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES

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.

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DRIVING FORWARD WITH CONNECTED AND AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES

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.

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EUROPEAN COMMISSION SETS OUT LEGISLATIVE ROADMAP FOR THE FUTURE OF CONNECTED AND AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES IN THE EU

On 17 May 2018, the European Commission announced a suite of legislative and policy proposals relating to connected and autonomous vehicles. These announcements came as part of the “Third Mobility Package” – the Commission’s broader agenda to ensure “safe, clean and connected mobility” in Europe by 2025 – and are mainly concerned with road safety.

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CONNECTED AND AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES: IS CHINA READY?

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.

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CHINA AUTONOMOUS DRIVING: ANALYSIS OF THE FIRST ROAD TESTING RULES RELEASED IN BEIJING

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.

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