Despite the Japanese government promoting self-driving cars’ tech as a key to economic growth, full autonomous vehicles will not be tested on public roads in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Guidelines published by the local National Police Agency (NPA) on Thursday state that all tests should be made with a driver behind the wheel, ready to take control of the vehicle in case of possible malfunctions; the person will also have to ensure safety and comply with traffic laws, according to JapanTimes.
Moreover, fully autonomous cars will have to be equipped with black boxes, similar to those used in aviation, which will record data that will be analyzed in case of an accident to determine what went wrong and to take the necessary measures before test drives are resumed.
Japan’s National Police Agency is expected to establish a panel of experts this summer, who will have to analyze possible legislative reforms for the new technology. Topics that stand out refer to who would be legally responsible in case of an accident, taking anti-hacking measurements and how the driver’s license system for self-driving cars will be modified.
The Japanese government has developed a classification system for semi- and fully-automated cars, in four levels, with Level 4 comprising of fully automated functions without the need of human intervention, Level 3 having limited self-driving automatic, where the driver can still take control if necessary, but driving is generally made autonomously, Level 2 involving multiple automated functions such as steering, acceleration and control, and Level 1 designated to the case in which some of the car’s functions are automated.
H/T to Motor1!