The resolution focused heavily on the EU Commission’s Communication “On the road to automated mobility” which was described as an important milestone in the EU strategy for connected and automated mobility. To succeed in the race for establishing the EU as a hub for automated vehicles, MEPs stressed the need for sufficient funding, appropriate safety and liability rules and speed – with rapporteur, Wim Van de Camp, stating that “China and the USA are not waiting”.

The resolution urges EU countries to work together with the Commission to harmonise the framework of automated vehicles with that of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and the Vienna Convention. A couple of areas are highlighted as requiring specific attention – including the creation of rules for the co-existence of “regular” vehicles with connected and automated ones; and the development of safeguard systems to protect people and provide a coherent approach to the ethical issues surrounding autonomous systems for automated vehicles.

The resolution also calls for extensive research on the long-term effects of autonomous transport on issues such as consumer adaptation, societal acceptance, physiological reactions, physical responses and social mobility, reducing accidents and improving transport in general.

Member State governments are following the EU’s approach and boosting support for their automotive and technology industries. By way of example, on 6 February 2019, the UK announced further support for advanced trials of automated vehicles and that its world-leading code of practice for testing automated vehicles will be strengthened. Under the strengthened code, those carrying out trials will be expected to publish safety information, trial performance reports and carry out risks assessments, alongside notifying those who might be affected by a trial (including relevant authorities).

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Posted by Fergal Duggan