The German government will soon require autonomous vehicles to be equipped with an on-board black box data recorder.
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Sources within German's ministry of transport have told Reuters that the government is preparing legislation that will require cars with self-driving functionality to have a black box on-board.

The black box will help investigators determine who was at fault for an accident by recording when the autonomous driving systems were active, when the human driver was in control, and when the car requested that the driver take over operation of the vehicle.

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According to the news wire, the German government won't force the human driver of an autonomous vehicle to pay attention to traffic conditions or keep their hands on the steering wheel when its self-driving mode.

The law will require the driver, however, to stay seated in the driver's seat in case they need to intervene during an emergency.

A draft version of the legislation will reportedly be circulated to other ministries for approval during the northern summer.

Media focus and public attention on autonomous vehicle safety has grown in the wake of a crash in the US in May, where the driver of a Tesla Model S was killed when his car, operating in Autopilot mode at the time, slammed into the side of a truck.

With the automotive industry such a vital cog in Germany's economy, pressure has reportedly grown on the auto industry and the government to ensure that self-driving vehicle technology is rolled out safely.

Cover image by Flickr user 7263255