driving without hands at 130 km/h will soon be allowed

We rarely think of the UN as an actor in changing the rules of the road. And yet the international organization has a very active role in pushing states around the world to adopt similar rules. And a UN body, called World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations, is even accelerating the necessary evolution of the rules to allow the latest electric cars on the market to offer more and more driving autonomy.

France has recently authorized level 3 “hands-free” driving on a handful of roads, as long as the speed does not exceed 60 km/h. But the last amendment number 157 which has just been adopted at the UN, wants to generalize the use of these systems on more roads, up to 130 km/h. Another great novelty: autonomous cars will now be able to change lanes on their own and overtake vehicles – again without driver intervention.

UN urges members to allow self-driving cars more range

The new text will come into force from January 2023. It will then be necessary for the States parties to the treaty to transpose the new provisions into their traffic laws. This decision is the result of feedback from the many countries where very advanced driver assistance systems are used (level 3). A first framework text was adopted on the subject in January 2020.

The use of a level 3 driving assistance system remains highly regulated. As always, the driver will only be able to activate hands-free driving under certain conditions, on roads without any pedestrians or cyclists. The roads in question must also separate traffic coming from opposite directions. And the driver must at all times be able to regain control.

Read also – Autonomous car – how Mercedes is ahead of Tesla on hands-free driving

In addition to these new provisions, the text defines performance, test and safety standards to which car manufacturers will have to comply. Vehicles offering this type of autonomy must be equipped with a black box which will record, among other data, the activation of level 3 autonomous driving as well as any lane change initiated automatically.

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