We’ve seen the technology in action and know that in theory, at least, it works well. But, when put to the real test, the thing holding autonomous vehicles up at the moment is legislation and the complex web of legislative bodies around the world.
Audi board member for technical development, Peter Mertens told Australian media that the process has already begun in Germany.
“Let’s talk about our home market to start with. There has been legislation for a couple of weeks now and I appreciate the flexibility of the government in giving us the authority and capability to test and sell these vehicles,” he said.
“This (the new Audi A8) is the first vehicle to have level 3 and to be homologated, in terms of piloted driving, so we’re breaking ground a bit and that’s a process that is going to take a while.”
Mertens was referring to changes in legislation that allow Audi to test autonomous vehicles and to relinquish control of the vehicle to allow the computer to take over.
But the caveat with the changes was that the manufacturer would be entirely responsible for any incidents that occur while the vehicle is in its autonomous mode.
“It’s a very iterative joint process between us and the authorities. They are helping us, we are helping them, we are both learning and paving the way forwards.”
As always, every country in the world takes a different view on legislation and legislation changes. Indeed, the process for voting on marriage equality, whether you support it or not, is a prime example of how hard it is to make decisions in Australia.
“The biggest fear I have is that everybody does their own legislation…please guys, don’t do that in Australia. It would be great if we could have at least as few as possible,” Mertens said.
Either way, it looks to still be a while before autonomous cars are a thing in Australia.