With 100% electric cars, which the industry is preparing and which should eventually become the only vehicles to be sold in the world, another change is underway for car manufacturers: the 100% autonomous car. A race launched, and dominated, by Tesla but which turns out to be more complicated than expected … by Elon Musk’s own admission. In the meantime, France is preparing to welcome them.
The Highway Code adapted to autonomous cars in France
Although level 4 or level 5 autonomy has not yet been reached, level 5 being the highest level of autonomy where, theoretically, the vehicle would not even need to have a steering wheel for the driver. , France wants to take the lead: Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, Minister Delegate in charge of Transport, has plans to adapt the Highway Code to these future autonomous vehicles. Nothing has been decided yet, but the target was announced on July 1, 2021 in a press release from the Ministry of the Interior.
Because autonomous cars would come up against a fundamental concept of the French Highway Code: the obligation for the driver to always be in control of his vehicle. This obligation justifies, for example, the penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, dangerous behavior… and makes it possible to establish a basic principle: the responsibility of the driver, in the event of an accident for example.
However, if autonomous driving were available, there would be an inconsistency: like declaring the driver responsible for an accident that would have been caused … by the computer, on which the latter has no means of intervening? The announced draft decree aims to answer this fundamental question.
Autonomous driving level 5? More complicated than expected
If the government has made this announcement, there is actually no urgency: achieving level 5 autonomy promises to be more complicated than expected. To declare it, it is none other than Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, who had promised it in 2018. If the auto industry agrees that Tesla is ahead, technologically, on this subject, in one tweet published on July 3, 2021, he states that “ generalized autonomous driving is a difficult problem, since it requires adaptation of the AI to the real world “.
Thus, since 2018, Tesla has regularly postponed the deployment of autonomous driving: the FSD (Full Self-Driving) v9, announced as practically ready in April 2021, has once again been postponed. “ I didn’t expect it to be so difficult. “