During a recent event in Hannover, VW’s Chief Digital Officer Johann Jungwirth expressed doubt about Europe’s place on the driverless map. Presenting the latest updates to the company’s self-driving car Sedric, he outlined plans to roll out autonomous vehicles in several U.S. cities, followed by China, Singapore and the Middle East. More local options seemed less likely: “And then comes Europe. We would love to [come earlier] since it’s our home market, but the legislation just isn’t there,” he said.
His words echo the actions of many European contemporaries. When considering where to carry out trials, many automakers currently favour alternatives such as California’s hot bed of innovation over the cold shoulder of regulations across the pond.
The main hurdle for Europe remains the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic – a treaty ratified by most of the continent. Dating back to 1968, it calls for a driver to be in control of a vehicle at all times.