The upcoming years are crucial to the development of automated driving in Europe. The automated (developing to autonomous) technology has great potential to serve the public interest by improving the environmental sustainability of traffic and making transit safer and more enjoyable for everyone.
Sohjoa Baltic project has researched, promoted, and piloted from 2017 onwards the use of driverless, electric minibuses in public transport. When planning deployment of a robot bus pilot, the central question is, whether the innovation can be implemented within the existing legal framework.
What are the legal obstacles on the way to sound use cases of driverless transport? Matthias Hartwig, Head of mobility department of Institute for Climate Protection, Energy and Mobility IKEM Berlin presented the legal situation at the Sohjoa Baltic’s Autonomous public transport webinar shared tips from legal perspective when implementing autonomous driving to public transport:
- Get approved
- plan enough time and resources for approval and permission processes.
- different regulations apply to the vehicle, infrastructure and transportation permits.
- Keep informed
- keep on eye if the legislative and administrative framework allow your project to proceed as planned or will there be changes in the near future?
- this is now current with the questions of having the safety drivers (stewards) on board or allowing remote operating of autonomous vehicle fleets.
- Help shaping regulation
- as the regulations, legislative and administrative framework are not adjusted to your needs yet, your piloting project can help policymakers to learn about important of changes to make driverless public transport possible.
Currently, there is a need for an international and European legal framework for integrated system of public transport of people and freight for safe, smooth and efficient implementation of vehicles and infrastructure on public roads. The regulatory goals, presented by mr Hartwig, should ensure safety, performance, zero emission and better mobility for all in the future. The legal framework requires rethinking the public transport law to reflect the new flexibility and availability of vehicles and information in the digital world:
- The integrated planning of public mobility should be guided by principles of accessibility, affordability and non-discriminatory transport for all.
- The goals of zero emission and minimized consumption of resources and space are to keep in mind.
- The future framework should provide safety of passengers, road users and traffic flow.
- Vehicles must integrate safely into mixed traffic and the law adapt to machines, but be safe and predictable for humans.
- Approving modularity of different technical and road environments with local limitations are needed.
- There is also need for the legal framework for secured data from digital infrastructure and other vehicles (V2X) in the connected driving.
- The framework should address the responsibilities for vehicle manufacturers, owners and operations manager, and integration of control centers.
Mr. Hartwig will also present these topics at Sohjoa Baltic’s final conference Future of autonomous transport in Baltic Sea Region, a live event to be held in Tallinn on Thu 27th August, 2020.
The European Legal Implementation Roadmap
What is the current legal situation for automated vehicles in Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, and Germany? And what are the legal challenges when implementing automated buses as part of public transport? These questions are answered and more insights on the legal topics are provided in the first volume of Sohjoa Baltic’s publication series Roadmap to Automatic Electric Shuttles in Public Transport – The Legal Framework. The publication
- supplies relevant legal information for readers interested in integrating automated driving into the public road system
- outlines the current legal status of automated driving in different European countries of the Baltic Sea Region
- provides policy recommendations to establish a sound legal basis for its implementation as part of the public transport system
- identifies the main implementation bottlenecks
- gives practical insight into the requirements that must be fulfilled before an automated vehicle can be operated on public roads.
- Find the Publication Roadmap to Automated Electric Shuttles in Public Transport – The Legal Framework from IKEM’s webpage (opens as PDF).
- Learn about the Future of autonomous transport in Baltic Sea Region conference agenda (opens tallinnconference.eu) or
- Register to the Future of autonomous transport conference directly (opens an e-form at metropolia.fi)