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Red tape cut to allow robot cars

France to bring in new law so that companies can test driverless cars, lorries and buses

FRANCE is cutting red tape to allow driverless cars to be tested more widely on ordinary roads.

The move comes as PSA Peugeot Citroën continues tests of a fleet of Picassos on motorways and dual-carriageways from Versailles to Bordeaux and Rennes.

Changes to the law have been included in the new energy transition law as robot vehicles should reduce fuel consumption and cut accidents.

Ecology Minister Ségolène Royal’s law change, which is due to be sealed with a decree at the beginning of October, allows the government to change legislation to permit driverless cars to be driven on ordinary roads and gives a legal framework for tests. It will also lead to changes in the Code de la Route.

Details of the decree will be revealed in Bordeaux at the World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems from October 5-9 which will feature demonstrations of driverless vehicles.

Citroën’s present tests are done under a special government dispensation and the new law will specify conditions for testing, such as that a fully-qualified driver is at the wheel ready to take over control. It will also allow other vehicles such as lorries or buses to be tested.

The company says it will have cars on sale in 2018 that will be able to “drive themselves” in traffic jams or while parking and will later move to completely autonomous vehicles.

* This month’s Connexion has a special report on driverless cars and an interview with Jean-Charles Marcos, head of industry pioneers AKKA Research. Find us at newsagents across France. Use to find your nearest stockist – or click here to download a pdf version now for €3.50.

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