MEPs have approved a motion calling for greater development of autonomous vehicles in the EU, but have cautioned the need to focus on safety.
In a non-binding resolution, the plenary session of the European Parliament recognised the movement of other countries – in particular China and the USA – towards market-ready connected and automated vehicles. MEPs stressed that further efforts needed to be made towards research and innovation of autonomous vehicles in the EU, saying that the union must respond promptly to new developments in the transport sector.
The European Commission and EU Member States were urged to work cooperatively to keep the EU at the forefront of “international technical harmonisation of automated vehicles” and to ensure that sufficient funding is made available to support facilities for autonomous vehicles in the EU, including developing infrastructure. Rapporteur Wim Van de Camp said: “Europe has to be innovative, but faster. China and the USA are not waiting.”
While the plenary session was emphatic that the EU must work to keep up with other countries worldwide in making connected and automated mobility available, MEPs noted that safety continued to be a concern with autonomous vehicles in the EU. They strongly recommended further work be done towards establishing appropriate rules regarding safety and liability, as well as safeguarding infrastructure systems which would allow autonomous and connected vehicles to co-exist with traditional vehicles.
MEPs further called on the Commission to draw up detailed rules covering the regulation of automated aircraft and seagoing vessels. The Commission, they said, should define in full the acceptable levels of automation for navigation both inland and at sea in order to stimulate uptake of autonomous vessels. In addition to boosting autonomous vehicles in the EU, they suggested a set of standards be developed to enable the implementation of autonomous trail and light rail systems.