Home Tech How Germany Hopes to Get the Edge in Driverless Technology

How Germany Hopes to Get the Edge in Driverless Technology

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FRANKFURT — In Hamburg, a fleet of electric Volkswagen vans owned by a ride-hailing service roams the streets picking up and dropping off passengers. The vehicles steer themselves, but technicians working from a remote control center keep an eye on their progress with the help of video monitors. If anything goes wrong, they can take control of the vehicle and steer it out of trouble.

This futuristic vision, within reach of current technology, is about to become legal in Germany. The Parliament in Berlin approved a new law on autonomous driving in May, and it awaits the signature of Germany’s president, a formality. The law opens a path for companies to start making money from autonomous driving services, which could also spur development.

With its requirement that autonomous vehicles be overseen by humans, the German law reflects a realization in the industry that researchers are still years away from cars that can safely allow the driver to…

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