The European Commission has outlined its plan to regulate data use and liability rules for driverless cars. In doing so, the Commission plans to “examine in greater detail the emerging issues of data ownership, access and re-use rules, including as regards data in an industrial context and especially data generated by sensors and other collecting devices”.

As part of the initiative, the Commission also said it will look into rules on safety and liability regarding the legal frameworks for autonomous systems and Internet of Things applications, as well as further plans to facilitate “large-scale testing in real-life environments” of such systems and applications. The Commission will also plan to set up an initiative on the free flow of data in the European Union to overcome “unjustified localisation requirements” that hamper data ownership, access and re-use across member states.

The latest communications from the Commission clearly show that it is pushing for the EU to become a connected environment where technologies such as driverless cars can become commonplace. With increasing competition from the US and China, it will be interesting to follow the Commission’s plans and proposals over the coming months with a view to ensuring the EU becomes an attractive place to test, develop and commercialise connected technologies.