Autonomous Vehicles; Regulatory Challenges and the Response From UK and Germany

(2020) 46 Mitchell Hamline Law Review forthcoming

18 Pages Posted: 24 Aug 2019 Last revised: 1 Sep 2019

Date Written: August 22, 2019


The looming dominance of autonomous vehicles has an impact on well-established areas of human activity such as the architecture of the cities and the transportation system. At the legal front, laws at national and international level became obsolete as the technological change creates new realities. At the same time, such technology disrupts areas and long established principles of privacy, tort law, or civil liability, criminal law, and insurance law.

Nowadays a number of countries, like Germany and the UK have adopted legislation to allow the operation of autonomous vehicles, while others have been more reluctant. Lawmakers in their effort to meet the fast technological pace, face a number of challenges. The question is how they decide to solve them.

This article examines how lawmakers respond to the presence of autonomous vehicles. In particular, it focuses on the recent legal framework adopted by Germany and the UK. By employing comparative methodology, this article evaluates the legislative initiatives from both Germany and UK and underpins best practices that would be useful for lawmakers who intend to adopt laws regulating autonomous vehicles. Interestingly, the approaches on some core issues, for instance, the definition and the standards and characteristics of autonomous vehicles differ, and the requirement for human oversight, but both legislative bodies decided to enact laws subject to a two-year review clause which signals the experimental character of the laws.

Keywords: Autonomous Vehicles, Regulation, UK, Germany

Suggested Citation

Kouroutakis, Antonios E., Autonomous Vehicles; Regulatory Challenges and the Response From UK and Germany (August 22, 2019). (2020) 46 Mitchell Hamline Law Review forthcoming, Available at SSRN: or

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