• Kyodo

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Transport ministers from the Group of Seven countries are expected to agree at their meeting in central Japan to set up a working panel tasked with creating global safety regulations for commercializing and promoting self-driving cars, a draft declaration of their summit showed Thursday.

The envisaged accord at their three-day meeting in Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture, from Sept. 23, comes amid intense competition among automakers and information technology companies worldwide over self-driving cars.

In the draft declaration, the G-7 ministers pledge to cooperate and exercise their leadership, reflecting the advanced economies’ hope that regulations set by the governments would give clear guidelines for manufacturers on how to ensure safety for self-driving cars.

Autonomous driving, which frees drivers from controlling a vehicle, involves artificial intelligence technology in grasping the surrounding traffic situation.

The draft says commercializing self-driving will help prevent traffic accidents, ease traffic jams and reduce the burden on drivers. Other benefits include helping the elderly and disabled people, and improving road access in less-populated areas.

The draft also says the G-7 countries will cooperate in the process of drawing up U.N. guidelines on self-driving cars.

The United Nations is debating global safety guidelines for self-driving cars to prevent cyberattacks on the network systems used in self-driving cars.

The G-7 ministers plan to issue the declaration and a separate communique on measures to deal with aging transport infrastructure, both on Sept. 24.

A draft on the latter paper calls for the need to utilize private-sector funds to develop and introduce new technologies for more durable infrastructure.

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