Autonomous cars in France this summer, the big disappointment

Release the steering wheel, your car is driving for you. From 14 July, autonomous vehicles will be allowed to circulate in Europe. A decree amending the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic allows a driver to delegate driving to an autonomous system. A first! In France, the decree implementing the European standard indicates approval by September 2022.

But so far we are staying very far from science fiction movies. This permit is actually limited to level 1 to 3 autonomous vehicles, on a scale up to 5. Level 1 is adaptive cruise control; the 5th is the fully autonomous vehicle that no longer needs human intervention for the journey. As for level 3, which could therefore appear on our roads, it allows the driver to delegate driving to the built-in technology for a certain amount of time and under very specific conditions. If the system finds that it can no longer handle driving, it returns commands to the driver who must be able to take them back quickly. On one of the only approved empowerment systems – Mercedes Drive Pilot – “the system requires the driver to get behind the wheel in less than ten seconds,” specifies Philippe Bonnifait, professor at Compiègne University of Technology and director of “heuristics and diagnosis of complex systems “research laboratory (Heudiasyc). Otherwise, the car enters safety mode. “And stops.

So where will it finally be possible to come across cars that drive by themselves? According to the decree, level 3 vehicles will only be allowed on roads with separate lanes, prohibited for pedestrians and cyclists and at a maximum speed of 60 kilometers per hour. In other words, driving can only be delegated to technology on the ring road or blocked motorways. A consistent choice. “Most of the accidents recorded involve pedestrians, bicycles or oncoming cars,” explains Fawzi Nashashibi, director of the RITS project team at the National Institute for Research in Digital Science and Technology (Inria).

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