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Germany Is Itching to Get Self-Driving Cars on the Road

Toyota Motor Corp's self-driving technology "Mobility Teammate Concept" prototype car changes lane on the Metropolitan Expressway during the Toyota Advanced Technologies media preview in TokyoToyota Motor Corp's self-driving technology "Mobility Teammate Concept" prototype car changes lane on the Metropolitan Expressway during the Toyota Advanced Technologies media preview in Tokyo
A Toyota self-driving prototype car changes lanes in Japan.Reuters

Chancellor Angela Merkel told carmakers on Tuesday that they should soon be able to test self-driving vehicles on German roads by promising to remove legal barriers.

Germany is home to some of the world’s largest car companies, including Volkswagen, Daimler, and BMW. Merkel said the industry should draw up a wish list for Berlin to help develop self-driving vehicles, ideally with a timetable.

The ruling coalition will meet at the end of May to discuss next projects and if the to-do list is ready by then, the cabinet could go ahead with creating the legal basis to test such vehicles, she told an industry event in Berlin.

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“That’s not a disputed topic in the coalition,” Merkel told an audience that included Daimler head Dieter Zetsche.

Companies around the globe are currently working on prototypes for self-driving vehicles, but such cars are not expected to be available for the mass market before 2020.

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The German government is also considering supporting the development of and demand for electric cars in Germany.

German industry leaders have pressed the government to introduce incentives to boost demand for electric cars, arguing such support is required if the country is to retain its prominent role as a car producer.