Estonia, Technology, Transport

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Sunday, 31.05.2020, 03:30

E-Estonia council: Self-driving vehicles waiting for new law

BC, Tallinn, 16.10.2019.Print version
The e-Estonia council was given an overview at a sitting on Monday of the current state and future perspectives of self-driving vehicles, the conclusion reached at the discussion was that although there is already a working legal framework for testing self-driving vehicles on Estonian public roads, it is necessary to wait for the algorithmic-liability law to apply it in our broader legal landscape.

The main aim of the algorithmic-liability law that is currently being developed by a working group of AI experts working alongside the Government Office is to enable the use of AI in various fields, but at the same time protect people from possible negative outcomes.

"There is a legal framework for testing self-driving cars on Estonian roads, but things get more complicated when we try to combine our legal framework, the driver of the vehicle, and actual city traffic," Prime Minister and Chairman of the e-Estonia council Juri Ratas said.

He added that the constant development of AI and its increasing prevalence in our lives brings about the need to create a legal framework to regulate the use of AI as well as to protect people from possible negative outcomes.

"Pursuant to our current laws, the driver of the vehicle is responsible for their activities in traffic," Ratas said, adding that the responsibility for the decisions made by self-driving vehicles remains to be regulated.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications will soon start drafting a new transport development plan, which will include the topic of self-driving cars. The Ministry of Justice will present a draft of the algorithmic-liability law, including regulation related to self-driving vehicles, by the middle of next year.

In addition, the council was given an overview of the current state and future perspectives of personal medicine and genetic information by Tonu Esko, vice director of the Estonian Genome Center.

One of the topics discussed was the possible input to the digital agenda 2020 for Estonia. The digital agenda 2020 for Estonia will be sent to the government for approval next February, after the agenda has been introduced to the e-Estonia council. The plan is scheduled to be adopted by the end of 2020.

The e-Estonia council directs the development of Estonian digital society and e-governance, sets up expert committees and working groups when necessary, and commissions studies in the field of ICT (information and communication technology) policy. The chairman of the council is Ratas and the council includes other ministers involved in the development of the information society, as well as experts and representatives of the ICT sector. The work of the council is organised by the strategy unit of the Government Office.

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