A key UN forum has more than doubled the speed limit for cars and vans using automated driving systems. Regulations for heavy-duty vehicles are set to follow next.
Safety is central to UNECE and IRU’s collaboration on road transport, which dates back almost 75 years. IRU actively participates in many UNECE working parties that bring member states together to debate and decide on safety standards, including the World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29).
Most recently, the Forum amended UN Regulation No. 157, extending the speed limit for automated driving systems for passenger cars and light-duty vehicles to 130 kilometres per hour on motorways. It was previously limited to 60 kilometres per hour. The new measures, which also cover automated lane changes, will enter into force in January 2023.
The regulations stipulate that automated driving systems must comply with local rules and can only be activated on roads that are exclusive to vehicles and have a physical barrier that separate traffic moving in opposite directions. The driver should also be able to override such systems and regain control of the vehicle.
The amendment also comes with requirements – such as auditing/reporting and testing on both test tracks and in real-world conditions – that car manufacturers producing vehicles with automated driving systems must follow. The new functionalities must also comply with stringent cybersecurity and software update requirements laid out in UN regulations.
IRU will continue to inform and participate in the debates inside the Forum, as it now looks ahead to reviewing speed limit regulations for autonomous heavy-duty vehicles.
Testing autonomous commercial vehicles
IRU is working closely with industry stakeholders on autonomous commercial vehicles as a partner of the EU-funded Horizon 2020 AWARD project. AWARD will test autonomous commercial vehicles in adverse weather conditions in several use cases involving ports, airports, industrial environments and public roads.