The UN adopted an international standard for autonomous cars

L’ONU adopte une norme internationale pour les voitures autonomes

Photo: Ed Jones, Agence France-Presse
The adoption of a binding international norm is an important step towards a larger deployment of autonomous vehicles, according to the economic Commission for Europe of the united Nations.

More than fifty countries, including Japan, South Korea and members of the european Union, have adopted this week at the united nations a settlement binding on the autonomous cars, including a black box mandatory.

This regulation on “automated systems maintenance path” (automated lane keeping systems, or ALKS) will enter into force in 2021. It has been adopted by the world Forum for harmonization of vehicle regulations of the economic Commission for Europe of the united Nations (UNECE), which brings together 53 States, Europe but also in Asia and Africa. This ” binding international norm […] marks an important step towards a larger deployment of autonomous vehicles “, stressed on Thursday the UNECE in a statement.

Japan, which co-led the drafting of the settlement with Germany will apply the regulation from its entry into force. The european Commission, which has also contributed to its development, alongside particular, France, the netherlands and Canada, has announced that the regulation will apply in the european Union at a later date, without, however, to clarify, stated the UNECE.

The United States are not part of the global Forum, but its car manufacturers will have to follow the new regulations to sell their vehicles in Japan, for example.

The regulations establish strict requirements for these systems ALKS that can control the vehicle when the driver is at the wheel and has his safety belt fastened. Furthermore, the regulation provides that these systems will be enabled only on roads where pedestrians and cyclists are prohibited and which are equipped with a physical separation between the two directions of traffic. It also establishes the limit of operation of these systems to a maximum of 60 km/h.


The regulations also require that the screens used for activities other than driving (Internet, video, entertainment, etc) to be automatically disconnected as soon as the driver has to regain control. It also provides for the obligation to introduce systems of recognition of the availability of the drivers : these systems control both the presence of the driver (on the driver’s seat, seat belt buckled) and its availability to regain control of the vehicle.

This availability is measured by several elements, such as an activation request to the exclusive control of the vehicle by the driver, the blinking or closing of the eyes and the conscious movement of the body or head.

The regulation also introduces the obligation to equip the vehicle with a black box, called a ” data storage system to conduct automated “.

Systems ALKS shall also conform to the requirements in the area of cyber security and software updates, set forth in two additional new regulations of the united Nations also adopted this week.

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