German debates on automated driving legislation
Germany is the first country to have passed legislation on automated driving. The country’s upper chamber, the Bundesrat, agreed on the respective law in mid-May this year. At the same time, an ethics commission was developing comprehensive ethical guidelines for automated driving, which are also available in English. The decision to rush towards a new law without waiting for the ethics report has drawn considerable debate in the country, which is recounted by a new article in the 2025AD magazine.
“I don’t understand why the Minister for Transport set up a special commission to discuss the ethical questions of autonomous driving, but does not await the presentation of its results”, commented an opposition politician according to the article. “You have to decide if you want to be a technological front-runner or one of the sceptics who waits for others to develop something and then sell it to us“, retorded the Federal Minister for Transport.
The 2015AD article points out that data protetion is another contentious elements of the new law. Data is to be stored for six months, which is seen critically by involved members of the opposition. A third political debate in Berlin centred on the question of liabilities. These issues will be back on the table when the law will be revised in 2019. What remains for now is the opinion by a MP of the governing coalition: “The car industry needs to know the legal requirements to proceed with their developments, so we didn’t wait any longer and proceeded with a new law to give guidance to the rest of the EU.”