UN allows self-driving vehicles to travel up to 130 km/h

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A Waymo robotaxi stopped at a pedestrian crossing. | Source: Waymo

The United Nations (UN) has announced that it will extend the current speed limit for autonomous vehicles from 60 km/h, approximately 37 mph, to 130 km/h, approximately 80 mph. The new regulations will come into force in January 2023.

The amendment has been adopted by the World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations and applies to passenger cars and light commercial vehicles. The amendment also allows vehicles to make automated lane changes.

The World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations is an intergovernmental platform, hosted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), which creates regulatory frameworks for vehicle performance and safety , their subsystems and their parts.

The Working Party on Automated/Autonomous and Connected Vehicles (GRVA) developed the amendment and was inspired by the UNECE Framework on Automated/Autonomous Vehicles. It builds on the experience gained by countries after the June 2020 adoption of the United Nations Automated Lane-Keeping Systems (ALKS) Regulations, which were the first binding international Level 3 autonomous vehicle regulations. .

Autonomous vehicles are rolling out around the world

The autonomous vehicle industry has made great strides in bringing self-driving cars into circulation. Last week, Cruise began charging passengers for robotaxi rides in San Francisco. The company has been testing in the city since June 2021.

Waymo isn’t far behind Cruise in its San Francisco rollout. The company received a driver deployment from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in March, along with Cruise, but has yet to obtain a driverless deployment permit.

In the meantime, Waymo cars have been offering fully self-driving, revenue-generating rides in the Phoenix area since 2020.

In Germany, Mercedes-Benz has launched its Drive Pilot system for the general public on its S-Class and EQS models. The system is capable of operating at SAE level 3, which means it is able to control the speed of the vehicle and guide it into its lane. Drive Pilot can also take into account the route profile, route events and traffic signs.

In China, Pony.ai recently acquired a license to operate an autonomous vehicle taxi service in the country. The company is preparing to launch a paid robotaxi service in Guangzhou, China later this year.

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