The German government has taken the initiative in terms of automated driving: on June 21st 2017, new regulations for automated driving came into force. "Consequently, Germany is the first country to regulate automated driving within a legal framework. We are very happy about this," explains Renata Jungo Brüngger, member of the Mercedes-Benz AG Executive Board, responsible for integrity and legal issues. Legislation creates the prerequisites for highly and fully automated systems. Unlike with partially automated systems, which merely support the driver, such systems completely take over control of the vehicle. However, the driver must be ready to take over again if and when required. The new laws do not allow autonomous driving when all of the occupants are merely passengers. There is still a need for action at international level in this context.
New technologies also trigger new legal issues and this is no different in the case of automated and autonomous driving. In Germany the government has reacted: in 2016, the federal government established an ethics commission to look at legal and ethical questions within the context of autonomous driving. In June 2017, the ethics commission adopted a final report comprising a total of 20 ethical rules, including the fact that protecting humans always takes priority. The ethics commission has also specified strict requirements in terms of data protection which are already taken into account today as part of the development of Mercedes-Benz automated and autonomous systems. In this process, three clear principles apply: transparency, self-determination, and data security.