Japan bans fully self-driving cars from public tests

Following safety concerns, the Japanese regulators said that autonomous cars should have a steering wheel or driver if they were to be tested on public roads.

Regulatory laws are not being able to keep up with the speedy development pace of the self-driving technologies, thus hampering the players’ efforts in their quest to release fully driverless cars as soon as possible. Lawmakers around the world are concerned that such independent vehicles are still a liability in terms of safety for other traffic participants. As an example, Japanese regulators have just released their first guidelines over self-driving tests on public roads, imposing automakers to fit their fully automated vehicles with traditional human controls and to place a driver behind the wheel so he can promptly react if anything goes wrong. Furthermore, the test cars have to incorporate a “black box” that it is able to record all the travelling data so that the necessary correction measures may be taken in the event of an accident.

The country’s National Police Agency plans to also set further rules around these type of tests, such as who would take the legal responsibility in case of an incident or how the cars could be better protected against hackers. Meanwhile, similar guidelines are expected to be issued in the United States as well, as soon as next month. California, the homeland of the US driverless tests, also does not want to allow vehicles that don’t have a licensed driver and human controls to go out on state’s streets.

Via The Japan Times