BERLIN, May 12 (Xinhua) -- The Federal German Bundesrat (Federal Council) passed a law on Friday outlining the conditions for autonomous driving in Germany, allowing fully autonomous driving systems to now take over control of the vehicle.
Federal transport minister Alexander Dobrindt called the technology "the greatest revolution in mobility since the invention of the automobile."
Drivers of autonomous cars in Germany are now free to take their hands off the wheel and perform other tasks, such as browsing the web or checking emails.
The law requires the driver to be in the car at all times and still be able to retake control. This is of particular importance for liability issues. Drivers will have to assume control only when prompted by the car or in the case of unforeseen events, such as tire blowouts or similar incidents.
A black box records the system's uptime, driver inputs and prompts for manual control. This is another measure to clarify any liability issues. The manufacturer of the automated cars will be held liable for system malfunctions.
The law will be revised in 2019 to account for any technological changes and advancements. The issue of data protection with regard to the collected driving information has yet to be fully resolved.
This law for autonomous driving is of particular importance for the German car industry. It supports the development of autonomous driving systems by providing a legal framework for testing and marketing automated cars.