Autonomous vehicles and driverless busses are set to make their debut on German public roads after lawmakers approved a new law on autonomous driving. The law intends to bring autonomous vehicles at the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Level 4 into regular operation as early 2022.
SAE’s Level 4 of driving automation means autonomous vehicles do not require human interaction in their operations—vehicles are programmed to intervene in the event of a system failure. Level 4 technology is typically for use in driverless public vehicles, such as taxis and busses. They have set travel points and are restricted to specific boundaries.
Germany’s legislative move of allowing Level 4 vehicles on public roads gives the country an edge in pioneering autonomous vehicle laws until international and EU-level legal frameworks are in place.
According to the German Transportation Ministry, the bill was written to be as flexible as needed—the new regulations would not require a human driver to be on standby.
Instead, a technical supervisor will be responsible, ensuring compliance with road traffic rules. They will also be obligated to evaluate the autonomous vehicle to activate various driving operations and assist passengers.
“Individual permits, exceptions, and requirements — such as the presence of a safety assurance driver who is always ready to intervene — would not be necessary,” the ministry said in a statement.
However, level 4 autonomous vehicles will only be allowed to operate in specific locations approved by authorities.
Additionally, the new autonomous driving law will require companies to put several data protection measures in place, ensuring the vehicles and their passengers are secure and safe.
The manufacturers of autonomous vehicles will also be responsible for their cybersecurity. As such, enterprises must future-proof their Level 4 vehicles to make sure they are safe for the use of the general public.
Germany’s pioneering autonomous vehicle legislation could pave the way to more intricate legal frameworks that could change the way we commute. It could also help companies to improve the technology we have right now.
However, this also means enterprises must understand the current and future cyber threats that may affect autonomous vehicles, particularly level 4 ones. As automation technologies become more advanced than ever, it is paramount for decision-makers to keep up-to-date and invest in robust cybersecurity that can future-proof the vehicles and their operations, ensuring consumer and road safety.
To learn more about connected car threats and standards that enterprises can take to secure these vehicles, check out some of Trend Micro’s extensive research:
- Cybersecurity for Connected Cars: Exploring Risks in 5G, Cloud, and Other Connected Technologies
- ISO/SAE 21434 -Setting the Standard for Connected Cars' Cybersecurity