Letter: Improving the Transparency of the Exemption Procedure for the Type Approval of New Vehicle Technologies

  • March 27, 2018

Earlier this year, ETSC reported on safety concerns regarding the so-called ‘Article 20’ exemption procedure for type-approval of new vehicle technologies.

This procedure allows for new technologies, for which no EU type-approval legislation yet exists, to be authorised for use on European roads. However, no information is made public about which technologies and manufacturers are concerned by the decisions. Discussions and votes are furthermore held during behind-closed-doors meetings, with little to no information made available afterwards.

The latest approval of an automated lane change system illustrates ETSC’s concerns regarding the procedure. Although safety issues had been raised during meetings of the “Technical Committee – Motor Vehicles” (TCMV), due to the lack of transparency it is unknown why the TCMV later considered the system safe enough for approval.

ETSC raised its concerns over the total lack of transparency surrounding the Article 20 exemption procedure during the February meeting of the Motor Vehicle Working Group, an advisory committee to the European Commission.

As a follow-up to that meeting, ETSC sent a letter to the Commission setting out how both the procedure as well as the text of the decision can be made more transparent. The letter however primarily underlines that a comprehensive review of the type approval procedures is urgently needed, particularly given the impeding advent of automated driving features that provide Level 3 and Level 4 support, which would include the offering of “hands-off” driving.

ETSC acknowledges that the Article 20 procedure involves detailed information which is considered sensitive from a manufacturer’s competitiveness point of view. ETSC is however convinced that the changes suggested in the letter would make the procedure sufficiently transparent, while ensuring the confidentiality of the manufacturer’s sensitive information.