France has given the green light to autonomous car vendors that want to test cars on public roads, part of Francois Hollande’s government “New Industrial France” plan to rejuvenate industry in the country.
The exact rules were not drawn up in the plan, but we assume manufacturers will be asked to register with the French government before testing an autonomous car on public roads.
PSA Group, which controls Peugeot and Citroen, has already received clearance from the French government to run controlled self-driving trials on public roads. It has completed several test rides, including a drive from Paris to Amsterdam.
The new plan should give others, including non-French manufacturers, the opportunity to test cars on French roads. That might be necessary for firms like Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz, which sell a lot of cars in France and see lots of German drivers crossing the border on holiday.
France sees this tech saving lives
The French government views autonomous cars as a way to reduce accidents on the road, which have been increasing in the past few years. It made note that intoxicated, tired, and angry drivers would no longer be a problem behind the wheel.
Manufacturers have called for more legislation to legalize autonomous car tests in the country, as a way to learn the intricacies of different country’s traffic systems.
Some manufacturers have started looking into virtual simulations, thnk Neo learning kung-fu in the Matrix, as a way to prepare its fleet for operations in a country. The simulations are not as meticulous as actual tests, but may be required if other countries do not allow public trials.
France’s announcement comes a few months after Britain led the European charge for legalization of autonomous cars. Germany announced its own legislation in the spring.