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Which Countries are Embracing Autonomous Vehicles?

Which Countries are Embracing Autonomous Vehicles?

Sustainable Investing / Auto, Aviation & Transportation

Self-driving cars once seemed like something form a sci-fi movie but are appearing on roadways around the world. Autonomous vehicles are equipped with different levels of self-driving capabilities. Level one is a low-level automation, such as cruise control, that many people are familiar with and is standard on most modern cars. Level two vehicles have partial automation for things like steering and acceleration. Level three vehicles can drive themselves but require a human presence at all times. Vehicles at this level can detect environmental conditions and use artificial intelligence. Level four automated vehicles can handle all driving tasks under specific conditions while level five vehicles are fully autonomous in all conditions without a human operator. 

Some countries are pushing to be on the forefront of this new technology. Passing favorable laws and building infrastructure to prepare for further rollouts of autonomous vehicles.

The U.S.

When it comes to producing autonomous vehicles, the United States is at the head of the pack. The United States leads the way in adapting to self-driving cars, as surveys suggest that citizens would prefer a car that drives itself. They also tend to trust self-driving cars as they are built by U.S. companies. While legal in 29 states, laws vary and most states require a driver to be in the vehicle to take over as necessary. In some states, only autonomous commercial trucks are permitted.


China recently green lighted the use of robotaxis. The taxis are fully autonomous, with no driver present. These driverless taxis are operating in Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Shanghai Beijing with future expansions planned.

South Korea

In South Korea, autonomous cars must have a human operator in them. The city of Seoul is investing heavily in infrastructure for these vehicles and plans to introduce autonomous busses in 2026. The Korea Economic Research Institute estimates the autonomous vehicle market to reach $1 trillion by 2035.


France was the first European country to allow autonomous vehicles up to level 4 on their roadways. There are currently 26 autonomous vehicle start-ups in France and robotaxis are on the streets of Paris. French citizens are more confident about the technology than other Europeans, although other counties in Europe are now allowing autonomous vehicles. 


Germany is another European country embracing autonomous vehicles. Germany allows self-driving cars with no human operator on their roads. Cars are only allowed in designated areas and must be able to be controlled remotely by a human operator. It’s no surprise as the country is famous for their automobiles and derestricted highways. 

The U.K.

Autonomous cars are coming to the U.K. and a legal framework should be in place soon. The Automated Vehicles Bill will hold vehicle manufactures, not the driver, liable for accidents caused by the vehicle. The bill hopes to avoid tricky legal issues other countries have experienced and the country plans to roll out vehicles by 2026.

The United Arab Emirates

In 2023, the UAE became the first country to have to make self-driving cars legal nationwide. The UAE recently granted China’s WeRide a license to operate autonomous taxis throughout the country. They hope to have 25% of their cars autonomous by 2030. A recent poll showed that 88% of respondents in the UAE felt comfortable sharing the roads with autonomous vehicles, while only 57% of US respondents felt the same.


Self-driving cars are no longer a dream of the future and are already transporting passengers across cities throughout the world. Some countries are already passing legislation to bring autonomous vehicles to their roads, trusting that they will provide safer roads and a more seamless way to reach your destination.