Draft Legislative Framework for Autonomous Vehicles in Israel

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Draft Legislative Framework for Autonomous Vehicles in Israel

20 August 2020

Technology & Regulation in the Spotlight

On 19 August 2020, Israel’s Ministry of Transportation and Road Safety (“MoT)” has published a Memorandum of Law (“Memorandum“) aiming to create a legal framework for experiments of autonomous vehicles, while increasing competition and the public’s trust in smart transportation. The Memorandum, which would amend the Israeli Road Transport Ordinance (“Ordinance“), is open for public consultation until 9 September 2020.

According to the Memorandum and the Governmental Resolution No. 2316 from January 2017, Israel aims to be among the leading states in areas of this innovative technology. While experimental autonomous drives are already taking place in Israel under the Transportation Regulations, they currently limited to driving with a backup driver for cases of emergency. The Memorandum will regulate the transition to completely autonomous experiments. These experiments may include, inter alia, free or paid autonomous transportation of passengers, including on public roads, through the use of various technological solutions. The Memorandum will also create a legal framework for less advanced vehicles, in which human intervention is still partially required.

According to the Memorandum, it will authorize the MoT Minister to further develop the legal framework through regulations, rather than through primary legislation, in order to increase the MoT’s ability to adjust the regulations to a rapidly-changing technological environment. The Memorandum offers to establish a new advisory committee which will include representatives, inter alia, from the MoT, the Police, the Ministry of Justice, Israel’s Innovation Authority and the public. The committee will advise the MoT Minister on further regulatory developments.

Changes will also be made to the definitions section to the Ordinance, which will include “Autonomous Driving Systems” that are divided to a few categories, depending on the systems’ technological capabilities and its dependence on human intervention. The classification of a system would define its legal limitations and obligations under the Ordinance.

The Memorandum will authorize the Supervisor of Traffic to approve experiments in autonomous vehicles who meet the threshold of requirements. The experiments will also be subject to the Israeli Protection of Privacy Law and to various cyber-security standards. The entities conducting the experiments would have to notify the Supervisor of Traffic of any severe security incidents if an incident occurs during the experiment. Such incidents may include cyber-attacks, in which case a notifications must also be sent to the Israeli National Cyber Directorate. Information regarding approved and expected experiments will be published in the MoT’s website.

We would be happy to provide advice and recommendations concerning the expected changes. Please feel free to approach us with any further questions regarding this update.

Kind regards,

Ariel Yosefi, Partner

Co-Head | Technology & Regulation Department

Herzog Fox & Neeman


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