For years Member States have been divided over driverless car technology. This was visible also earlier this year when Member States’ transport ministers decided to sign a joint declaration over driverless vehicles.
Affected industry, in particular car manufacturers and telecom operators, have been trying to persuade the EU Commission to back driverless car technology. Without the financial support coming from the EU, it would be difficult to see how driverless car technology can flourish in Europe and across the Member States. Financial support and adequate regulatory changes are necessary to lay the foundation for driverless car technology to be present onto European streets sooner rather than later.
The EU in general and Commission in particular, have lacked proper coordination that, in turn, has led to failure in making realistic commitments and come up with proposals in this sector. But now comes the real opportunity for all interested parties as the German Commissioner from Stuttgart, Günther Oettinger, who is in charge of the digital agenda is on the driving seat on driverless car technology. He has used the connection of this sector to telecoms policy, which is his agenda, to take the lead in the area over the internal market unit in DG Grow.
All those that have argued in favor of autonomous cars in Europe, have now an opportunity to get what they wish if they engage adequately and intensively with the EU institutions. Especially more so since the Commission is set to propose legislation that will directly and indirectly impact autonomous cars in 2016. DG Move is also planning a revision of the intelligent transport system directive.