South Africa to Set New Rules for Self-Driving Cars

Plans to develop new rules regarding self-driving cars in South Africa are taking place for the coming months, the Department of Transport said.   

During a quarterly report to parliament this week, the department noted the research into the restrictions was approved then submitted. However, it missed internal deadlines in 2021.   

Therefore, it expects to admit the regulations before the end of the financial year.  

In addition, self-driving vehicles will be on the streets with little or no control by humans, solving several mobility problems for the country, including social inclusion, road safety, congestion, and emissions.  

“Government is putting in place policy, legislation, and strategies to take advantage of the benefits associated with automated vehicles (AVs) while also minimizing risks and unpremeditated consequences,” the department said in its 2021 annual report.  

In a quarterly report submitted to the parliament this week, the department said research into the regulations had been approved and submitted but had missed internal deadlines in 2021.   

“The new strategies, policy, and legislation should provide a welcoming environment for testing and development of AV technology,” the company acknowledged.  

Some regulations concerning self-driving cars gained popularity during previous years because models from Tesla and other vehicle manufacturers earned popularity.  

In a February 2022 earnings call, Tesla chief executive Elon Musk said he thinks Full Self-Driving (FSD) is becoming its most essential source of profit during all this time. It repeated a prediction saying that the wide release of the capability will lead to one of the most significant asset-value increases in history.  

“We are confident at this point that it will be achieved,” Musk said. “I guess that we will achieve Full Self-Driving this year, at a safety level significantly greater than a person.”  

International shipping companies and software developers are also conducting trials with self-driving trucks to ensure ways to solve a driver shortage that has become worse by the Corona, drawing fire from safety advocates who call the technology risk to motorists.  

While the matter is that self-driving trucks are still delinquent at winning regulatory approval, the pioneers of the technology view it as a long-term key to an increasingly unmanageable labor problem.  

“Human drivers have to eat, sleep and take breaks,” said Sterling Anderson, co-founder of Aurora Innovation Inc., which started testing driverless truck software in December in Texas, cooperating with Uber Technologies’ logistics arms.   

“What that also leads to is the enormous underutilization of these trucks and much slower movement of goods,” Sterling noted. 

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