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‘Autonomous’ vehicles: towards regulation in line with Council of Europe standards

“The criminal law, civil law and human rights implications of the development and introduction of autonomous vehicles must be regulated in accordance with Council of Europe standards,” said the Legal Affairs Committee, meeting by videoconference.

The report by Ziya Altunyaldiz (Turkey, NR), adopted by the committee, states that the circulation of semi-autonomous or autonomous vehicles may create a ‘responsibility gap’, where the human in the vehicle cannot be held liable for criminal acts. The committee therefore considers it necessary to adopt new approaches to apportioning criminal liability or alternatives to criminal liability.

As automated driving systems depend on sensitive personal data (for example on an individual's movements), the committee recommends striking a correct balance between data processing that is necessary for the safe operation of autonomous vehicles, and respect for and protection of the privacy of drivers and passengers. It also considers that ethical and regulatory standards applicable to artificial intelligence in general should also be applied to its use in autonomous vehicles.

Finally, according to the adopted text, the bodies responsible for regulating autonomous vehicles should pay particular attention to the application of artificial intelligence to automated driving systems and assess the impact of autonomous vehicle technology on human rights.