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In the wake of the recent Tesla scandal, German regulators pledged to create a new set of rules that would force producers of driverless cars to equip their vehicles with black boxes to help authorities establish responsibility in case of a fatal crash.
The German transport minister made the announcement July 18.
The move comes after a Tesla Model S driver in Florida died in a car crash with a truck while the car was on autopilot mode.
German transport minister Alexander Dobrindt now wants drivers to remain in contact with the steering wheel to be able to take over the vehicle in case of a hard-to-manage traffic situation.
Under the new rules, car makers will also have to equip the cars with black boxes which will keep a permanent record on when the Autopilot is on, when the driver manually drove the vehicle, and instances when the car system required the pilot to take control over the car.
A spokesperson for the German transport ministry said that a draft of the legislation is now circulating within the country’s legislature and it is expected to be approved by the end of the summer.
Germany is especially concerned about self-driving cars as it is home to the world’s largest car makers including Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen. And some of these companies are currently working on autonomous driving technology as well.
In April German Chancellor Angela Merkel requested the industry to come with a set of proposals for lawmakers so that they can provide help in developing the new technology. Globally, many car makers and tech companies said that they are working on their own autonomous prototypes but the cars won’t be available until 2020.
Tesla Motors is now in hot waters over a car crash in early May which led to the death of a Model S owner in Florida. The company publicized the tragic accident late last month. NHTSA is currently investigating the case to see whether the Auto-pilot feature is at fault.
The auto maker said that the in-car computer system may have caused the accident. Reportedly, the car’s system wasn’t able to recognize a white tractor trailer against a light background so the vehicle crashed into the truck.
However, Tesla problems are not over yet. Last week, a driver claims that a faulty Auto-pilot pushed his Tesla Model X off the road and caused it to crash in Montana. Fortunately, no fatalities were recorded, but NHTSA is probing this case too.
Image source: YouTube