Police agency unveils draft bill to allow self-driving vehicles on Japan’s roads
Japan Times -- Dec 21
The National Police Agency on Thursday unveiled a draft bill that would allow vehicles with a high level of autonomous features to run on public roads, with an eye toward implementing the legislation in the first half of 2020.

The bill to revise the nation’s road traffic law would enable travel for what the government classifies as level 3 autonomous vehicles. Such vehicles can allow drivers to shift their attention elsewhere and let the system drive, except for during emergencies and system glitches that would require them to take back control.

In the initial stage, the government may only allow the use of level 3 self-driving technology during highway traffic jams.

Autonomous driving technology is classified into five categories. Under the current law, only level 1 vehicles that have one of either automated steering, acceleration or braking features and level 2 cars that have more than one of those automated functions are allowed to travel on public roads.

Level 4 pertains to vehicles that can drive themselves under certain conditions without human input, even in emergencies, and level 5 cars have complete autonomy without any conditional requirements.

The draft bill would allow drivers of level 3 cars to talk on their mobile phones or watch TV, actions that are prohibited for those behind the wheel in conventional vehicles, as long as they can smoothly take back control of the car.

Actions such as working on a computer in the rear seat, sleeping or drinking alcohol would remain prohibited.

Self-driving vehicles would be banned from traveling on public roads unless they are equipped with travel data recorders. Drivers would also be required to save their driving data.

News sources: Japan Times, ANNnewsCH
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