Norway says “Ja!” to self-driving vehicles on public roads next year

The Norwegian government might be the next to legalize self-driving cars on public roads, if a new bill under consultation is passed by parliament.

Norway’s Ministry of Transport and Communication will look at the bill sent by the government and provide any amendments, before parliament votes on it.

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“The objective of the bill is to facilitate the testing of self-driving vehicles on Norwegian roads,” said the government in a statement. It added that the bill should protect the integrity of personal information and abide with current traffic safety laws.

Norway will make automakers and tech firms apply to test self-driving vehicles on public roads, and only mature systems will be granted access. The statement also suggests that full autonomy will not be allowed on public roads, at least in 2017.

Norway has been lagging

The Nordic country is a bit behind the curve, with several European countries legalizing self-driving in some form. That said, the climate of Norway may be enticing for firms that want to test cars in very cold temperatures with lots of snow.

The government may also be doing a favor for one of its major international firms, Tesla. The Model S has been a favorite amongst Norwegians, and Tesla may look to set a permanent outpost in the country to make sure its cars work when self-driving is enabled.

According to Reuters, the Norwegian government might be looking at this as an opportunity to diversify its economy, which has struggled since the fall in oil price. Becoming a place to test autonomous vehicles could bring more jobs to the country too.

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