Road test plan for driverless cars

French government unveils plans to allow self-driving cars to be tested on public roads

10 July 2014

DRIVERLESS cars could be travelling on public French roads next year, it has been revealed.

Under plans intended to boost industry and innovation in France over the next decade, vehicles that drive themselves will be permitted to use certain roads under certain conditions, the economy ministry has announced.

Allowing driverless vehicles to be tested on open roads would allow manufacturers to more rapidly develop self-driving vehicles, the ministry said.

It said that it hopes that to be able to tap into a market worth several billion euros over the next decade.

There are still legal obstacles to overcome, as well as technical ones.

The 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic stipulates that a driver should be in control of a vehicle at all times.

This is due to be dealt with by an article in the energy transition bill which is due to before MPs later this year which would allow the testing of driverless vehicles on public roads under strict conditions.

But international law will also need to change if driverless vehicles are to become regular sights on the roads by - as manufacturers hope - 2020.

Google’s self-driving cars have been spotted on the roads of America.

Photo: Roman Boed

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