It’s reported that plans for transport ministers from EU countries to agree a joint declaration on driverless vehicles are being beset by “squabbles between member states”.
The website EurActiv says that the Dutch Council presidency has drafted a declaration to try to boost EU member states’ development of the technology, but that there are doubts about whether EU countries want to pledge to introduce driverless cars by 2019.
It adds that EU officials are pointing out that one issue dogging the draft declaration is a handful of member states are competing to be the first European country where driverless cars run on open roads.
The declaration is designed to set up a new working group made up of ministers from EU countries chaired by one member state on a rotating basis.
The UK and Germany, have already adjusted national laws to allow testing of driverless cars and adopted strategies to make the new technology commercially available within the next few years.
A recent draft of the EU declaration, obtained by EurActiv.com, says that “not every Member State will be able or willing to be actively involved from the start”.
It adds that several sources have told it that some member states will not support the declaration when transport ministers meet today (Thursday 14th) in Amsterdam.
A Dutch official who spoke on condition of anonymity said not all 28 EU countries are expected to lend their support to the agreement, but the Dutch transport ministry is convinced the declaration is a needed push for driverless cars to eventually move across EU borders.
The declaration also outlines the “important priority to amend the Vienna Convention in order to allow the use of automated vehicles on public roads”.
Most EU countries have signed on to an international convention regulating road safety. A 2014 amendment made way for cars that run without a driver’s full control, as long as a human can still shut off the vehicle.
But the convention still restricts driverless cars from operating on open roads.
The UK is not part of the convention.