Prospects for the implementation of automated and autonomous vehicles on the example of Switzerland

The 18th meeting of experts on automated, autonomous and connected vehicles (GRVA) was held on January 22-26, 2024 in Geneva. One of the topics discussed during the event was the legal regulations regarding automated driving in Switzerland. Switzerland is one of the first countries, apart from discussions regarding the technical requirements of Automated Driving Systems (ADS), to start implementing the approval of vehicles equipped with ADS in road traffic. For this purpose, principles of cooperation, scope of duties and division of responsibilities have been developed between the offices involved in issuing a special permit for testing vehicles with ADS in road traffic. The implementation of new regulations will enable testing of vehicles with a degree of automation according to: SAE 3 and 4.

Switzerland is among the countries that are open to testing and implementing automated and autonomous mobility. The authorities of this country recognize the potential of the use of automated vehicles, including the possibility of their mutual communication, both for the needs of individual mobility and public transport. The prospects of increasing the safety and comfort of moving people and improving the accessibility of transport for the elderly, disabled people and children contribute to taking actions aimed at regulating the rules for conducting road tests (test drives) with the use of highly automated vehicles.

As part of the amendment to the Road Traffic Act, on March 17, 2023, the Swiss Parliament granted the Federal Council (the government body in Switzerland) the right to regulate the traffic of automated vehicles. It is expected that the regulations currently being developed will enter into force at the beginning of 2025, and the amendment will enable vehicles with SAE levels 3 and 4 of automation to travel on roads in Switzerland (current regulations allow levels 0-2). The new regulations are to cover the following types of vehicles equipped with ADS:

  • vehicles that still require the presence of a driver, but can cover specific sections of the route in automatic mode using the systems specified in UN-R157 – Automated Lane Keeping Systems (ALKS).
  • driverless vehicles that can travel specific, pre-approved routes.
  • vehicles equipped with an automated parking system, i.e. the so-called dual-system vehicles that can park without a driver in previously authorized parking spaces.

Automated vehicles can be used commercially and may be intended to transport people or goods.

Vehicles with level 5 automation are not yet the subject of arrangements.

Regulating automated driving in Switzerland, Informal document GRVA-18-13 submitted by the expert of Switzerland – Armin Jost, 18th GRVA, January 22-26, 2024
Automated driving. Fact sheet for conducting pilot tests in Switzerland, Federal Roads Office (FEDRO) Information and Communication Section, Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC), Version 4.0, 25.10.2022.