On November 26, 2018, the government of the Russian Federation issued a regulation that permits the testing of driverless cars on regular roads to begin. The new Regulation is the first piece of national legislation that regulates the use of autonomous vehicles.
The government will conduct the experimental testing through March 1, 2022, on the roads of two constituent components of the Russian Federation—the capital city of Moscow and the Republic of Tatarstan, a territory located about 500 miles to the east of Moscow. Simultaneously, the government approved the Rules of the Experiment, which designate a government research lab to coordinate the testing. The laboratory is to collect applications from owners of the autonomous vehicles, issue testing permits after reviewing the test vehicles and their electronic equipment during a 45-day review period, monitor the results, and provide recommendations for safety standards. Reports summarizing the test results and proposing further developments must be submitted to the government by March 2020 and again in 2022. These reports must contain recommendations regarding technical requirements and standards for the practical use of autonomous vehicles.
Each autonomous vehicle is to be equipped with a data recording system; a mechanism allowing the pilot, whose presence in the car is required, to activate and deactivate the autonomous driving system; and equipment for recording traffic and the pilot’s actions. This video recording must be preserved for no less than 10 years and can be given to government agencies upon their request. Each driverless car must bear a special sign with a large black letter “A” to identify it as an autonomous vehicle. A pilot must have no less than three years of professional driving experience, have a clean driving record, and be medically certified to serve as a driving instructor for the specific category of cars that is being tested.
The owner of an autonomous vehicle is responsible for all traffic and other accidents that occur on Russian roads with the car if nobody else is found guilty. Liability insurance with at least 10 million rubles (about US$150,000) of protection is required. The owner of a car equipped with a system for autonomous driving can be a legal entity, and the owner cannot be changed during the testing period. Russian attorneys believe that disputes arising from traffic accidents involving autonomous cars can be resolved under general civil legislation and, in the future, only the owners of driverless cars will be financially liable regardless of the severity of damages inflicted. Others are of the opinion that the responsibility for damages can be placed on the pilots who monitor the autonomous driving system if they are found to be at fault and on the developers of the autonomous technology if an accident was the result of a system failure.