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French president Emmanuel Macron is responding to sharply rising pressure from the industrial sector in international competition as the government plans to grant driving licenses for level 3 cars , country-wide, from 2020. Level 3 describes what is currently the most widespread form of “autonomous” car – the system can independently stay in lane or change lanes, but a human driver has to take action more often. By contrast, level 4 is supposed to no longer require any intervention, while vehicles in category 5 can dispense with a steering wheel and human controls entirely.

Fully autonomous vehicles are to be tested in France as early as next year, according to French finance minister Bruno Le Maire while speaking at a press conference . Areas of great potential include self-driving shuttle services, and intelligent trucks which can load their own cargo without a driver and unload it at their destination. France has now created the basic legal framework for this in order to counter fierce competition from China and the USA.