European-Backed UN Amendment Brings Autonomous Vehicle Future Closer

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
european backed un amendment brings autonomous vehicle future closer

While autonomous vehicles are still in the early stages of testing, a few of the European members of the United Nations have laid the groundwork for the self-driven future to come sooner than later.

Reuters reports the U.N. Working Party on Traffic Safety received last month an amendment to Article 8 of the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic backed by Germany, France, Italy, Belgium and Austria that would allow drivers of autonomous vehicles to take their hands off the wheel so long as as the vehicle’s system “can be overridden or switched off by the driver” at any time.

Should the amendment pass through the myriad of red tape within the organizing body, 72 countries — the United States, China and Japan withstanding — would have to work the new legislation into their law books.

The European-backed amendment now means automakers like Mercedes-Benz and BMW can move beyond testing their autonomous and semi-autonomous offerings toward delivery to showrooms throughout the continent, all without waiting for Google and other U.S. interests to bring the technology to market. Mercedes in particular delivered an S-Class limo in response to the search engine giant’s own efforts last August which drove the Bertha Benz route between Mannheim and Pforzheim, Germany without driver input.

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  • OneAlpha OneAlpha on May 20, 2014

    It seems to me that a truly reliable autonomous vehicle, one you could actually trust to work properly, would have to be essentially a real-world KITT. Since I'm not versed in the latest developments in computer technology, I have no idea how far away such as computer is. But I'm going to guess that it won't be here next week.

  • Redliner Redliner on May 20, 2014

    To everyone who says this will never happen, here is a list of other things people said would never happen: "The bomb will never go off. I speak as an expert in explosives." --Admiral William Leahy, US Atomic Bomb Project Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction." -- Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872. "Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You're crazy," -- Drillers who Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil, 1859. Well informed people know it is impossible to transmit the voice over wires and that were it possible to do so, the thing would be of no practical value. -- Editorial in the Boston Post (1865) and best of all: HORSELESS CARRIAGES: The horse is here to stay, but the automobile is only a novelty, a fad. -- Advice from a president of the Michigan Savings Bank to Henry Ford's lawyer Horace Rackham. Rackham ignored the advice and invested $5000 in Ford stock, selling it later for $12.5 million. So all you 'never, ever, nope, not, nein, impossible, not profitable, not in my lifetime' people can just Shuuush!

  • Stuki Stuki on May 21, 2014

    Leave it to UN drones and Eurocrats, to try inserting themselves into the "take credit" pile for technology so far beyond their meager brains' ability to comprehend it's not even funny.

  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Jul 14, 2014

    -Those S-Class vehicles with purple windshield always age poorly, IMO. -The current S-Class headlamps are too reminiscent of the "bad" early 00s Buick-looking version.