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German carmakers consider using black-box recorders for self-drive cars

Published on Jun 20, 2014 9:22 PM

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German carmakers are considering the use of aircraft-style "black box" data recorders in self-driving cars, a contentious idea in a country worried about surveillance, but potentially a crucial step in getting the new technology on the road.

Mercedes-Benz and BMW are among automakers to have developed autonomous or semi-autonomous cars, along with technology company Google.

But while some features, such as assisted parking, are commercially available, legal questions are hampering the roll-out of other technologies, such as automatic overtaking on motorways, and fully self-driven cars remain prototypes.

Installing an aircraft-style data recorder could help to address some of these questions by giving manufacturers and insurers clarity over who is liable when an autonomous car gets into a crash.

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