Serbia is on the brink of a technological leap as local roads prepare to welcome self-driving vehicles. Leading firms in the domain have garnered permissions to kickstart test drives of two vehicles, as per recent authorizations from competent authorities.
The National Alliance for Local Economic Development (NALED) emphasized that this move was legally reinforced by the freshly amended Road Traffic Safety Law, which is currently undergoing parliamentary procedure. Such proactive legislations are projected to position Serbia among pioneering nations, such as the U.S. and Israel, that have already embraced and integrated autonomous driving into their landscapes.
The legal modifications introduce, for the first time, the concept of autonomous driving. They stipulate that self-driving on roads is exclusively permitted for testing, contingent on licenses issued by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Subsequent legal acts are anticipated to further delineate conditions for the examination and trial of these vehicles.
Irena Đorđević, at NALED, elucidated the state’s inclination towards a liberal approach, emphasizing the current permission extends to Level 3 self-driving vehicles. Such vehicles will have drivers on board to take control if glitches arise. Ambitiously, the nation plans to escalate to testing fully autonomous vehicles by 2027.
Nevertheless, public sentiments towards these vehicles are mixed. A survey under the StarTech project disclosed that 41% of Serbian citizens are yet to acquaint themselves with self-driving vehicles. Moreover, over a quarter would feel uneasy with their presence in traffic. Recognized benefits included enhanced performance, heightened comfort during commutes, and augmented safety. Conversely, potential high acquisition costs and unadapted infrastructure were perceived as drawbacks.
Additionally, the country has made strides in micromobility regulations, identifying electric scooters—now exceeding 200,000 in number. The law recommends their movement on specific paths and roads, with safety precautions in place.
In conclusion, Serbia’s progressive steps towards modernizing its transport infrastructure, supplemented by legal adaptability, are commendable. These efforts not only advance technological adoption but also underscore the importance of safety and public well-being.