The German federal government has announced new regulations for operating autonomous motor vehicles in Germany.

The new regulations, along with the recently amended road traffic regulations, complete the national legal framework for autonomous driving.

Autonomous Vehicle Regulations Hamburg
Volkswagen has been testing autonomous driving on a test route in Hamburg since March 2019

The regulations for autonomous vehicles include:

  • The test and procedure for granting an operating licence for motor vehicles with autonomous functions
  • The requirements and procedure for approving public operating areas for autonomous motor vehicles
  • Regulations for registering autonomous motor vehicles
  • Details of the obligations for owners and operators of autonomous vehicles
  • New testing regulations for vehicles with autonomous functions
  • Administrative offences related to the use of autonomous vehicles

The appendix also details the technical requirements for constructing and maintaining equipment for autonomous vehicles and the procedure for approving their use on the road.

The Federal Minister for Digital Affairs and Transport, Dr Volker Wissing, said:

Autonomous driving will permanently change our mobility and offers enormous potential, for example in passenger transport or in logistics over the last mile. The fact that autonomous vehicles will be able to take part in normal road traffic in the future is unique in the world and was an enormous feat. But it is precisely with this detailed experience in developing the legal framework and its implementation that we can make a significant contribution to further work at international level.

These regulations complement Germany’s 2021 amendment of the Road Traffic Act, in which a three-stage procedure was specified to enable regular operation of autonomous vehicles on public roads:

  1. To operate an autonomous vehicle, it is first necessary to apply for an operating license for motor vehicles with autonomous driving functions at the Federal Motor Transport Authority
  2. Approval for a defined operating area is then requested from the responsible authority
  3. Finally, the autonomous motor vehicle is approved for use on the road through the allocation of an official license plate number and the issuing of vehicle documents


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