“Hands-free” driving authorized in France under certain conditions

“Hands-free” driving authorized in France under certain conditions
An employee demonstrates driving through the Drive Pilot level 3 autonomous driving system in a new Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
ARND WIEGMANN / REUTERS An employee demonstrates driving through the Drive Pilot level 3 autonomous driving system in a new Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

ARND WIEGMANN / REUTERS

An employee demonstrates driving through the Drive Pilot level 3 autonomous driving system in a new Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

TRANSPORT – The future is already here… or almost. Since this Thursday, September 1, synonymous with the start of the school year, France has officially authorized the circulation of certain self-driving carseven if it will still be necessary to show itself wait to experiment actually these vehicles.

In force since July 14 in Europe, the so-called driving “level 3 autonomous” is now possible in France. Autonomy was previously allowed for level 2 in France (partial automation with speed and direction control, as is already the case with the “Park Assist” option, for example).

But to experience level 3 autonomy, it will still be necessary to obtain such a model, which is far from being an easy task: no manufacturer established on French soil has the approvals to market a such model.

Especially since in order to be able to travel on the roads of France in an autonomous car of this type, it will be necessary to respect a number of rather restrictive conditions : drive on a road prohibited to bicycles and pedestrians and equipped with a central separator, do not exceed the maximum speed of 60 km/h (the speed of 130 km/h can soon be reached if the car can achieve automatic overtaking ) and finally be able to regain control of the vehicle at any time from the driver’s seat.

What to use mainly in traffic jams and other traffic jams on the highway as well as crowded devices. For the rest, it still seems complicated to see this type of vehicle proliferating before a certain time.

Mercedes far ahead of the competition

For now, alone mercedes seems well placed in Europe to supply these car models in France. But according to the German manufacturer behind the Class S or EQS ranges (which have the system “Drive Pilot” optional), France is not yet on the agenda: ” We have already started discussions with the French authorities, but we cannot give a timetable”, advances a spokesperson for the brand to echoes. Sespecially since this autonomous piloting option requires a complete mapping of the roads in France beforehand.

On the side of You’re here, we remain cautious. The models currently tested in the United States correspond more to level 4 or 5 in terms of autonomy. As for the more classic models already marketed in France, they are considered to be level 2. Among French brands, nothing announced before more than two years, in particular for the Stellantis group (Citroën, Peugeot, Fiat, Jeep) which intends to collaborate with BMW to develop its first level 3 autonomous model, as noted by France Inter.

Five levels of autonomy

The range of a car is based on an autonomy scale between 0 and 5. At 0, the vehicle has no autonomy system, whereas it is omnipresent at level 5 (no steering wheel or pedal, which means that the driver has no impact on the course).

At level 3, we rather speak of “conditional automation”. In certain predefined situations, the driver can completely delegate the driving of the vehicle. Even if, at this level, the driver must be able to regain control at any time, to compensate for the limits of the on-board computer, the driver is no longer responsible for driving. Thus, under the law, a level 3 model implies that it is up to the car manufacturer to take criminal responsibility in the event of an accident.

See also on The HuffPost: Aboard a Tesla, he travels more than 500 km without touching the steering wheel

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