A small fleet of Mobileye Level 4 autonomous vehicles is to be deployed in Munich by the end of 2022. At this level, vehicles are allowed to drive without a driver, steering wheel or pedals.

The German regulator is pressing on the gas pedal. The law on autonomous driving came into force at the end of July 2021. The associated ordinance with the technical specifications has not yet been issued. This still has to be approved by the German Bundesrat, which is expected at the end of December 2021 or in January 2022. The next step will then be the approval process with TÜV Süd in accordance with the requirements of the Federal Motor Transport Authority.

France does not want to be left behind by Germany in regulatory terms. After becoming aware of Germany's efforts, the Macron government introduced a corresponding regulation by decree and without parliamentary approval.

The EU Commission also has a draft regulation in its quiver, which is currently in consultation and could come into force in Q4 2022.

Where does Switzerland stand?

De lege lata, Switzerland is still at the pilot stage. For tests with self-driving vehicles of level 3 (conditionally automated), level 4 (highly automated) and level 5 (fully automated), a test permit from the Federal Council is required. The legal basis is the exceptional approval of Art. 106 para. 5 Road Traffic Act (SVG). The lead agency is the Federal Roads Office (FEDRO), which has published a corresponding fact sheet.

However, the legislative process has also gained momentum in Switzerland. At its meeting on November 17, 2021, the Federal Council approved the dispatch on the amendment of the Road Traffic Act for the attention of parliament. One point of the revision is to enable automated driving. The Federal Council is now to be able to determine the extent to which vehicle drivers are relieved of their duties and to what extent driverless vehicles with an automation system can be permitted if they operate on defined individual routes and are monitored. Framework conditions for this are to be defined in the SVG. FEDRO should be given the possibility to approve and financially support tests with automated vehicles. The amendments to the SVG will now be dealt with by parliament. The entry into force of the amendments is planned to be staggered from 2023.

Comment: It seems questionable whether Switzerland will be able to keep up with the dynamics of legislation in neighboring countries and the EU with this timetable.