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Japan revamps laws to put self-driving cars on roads

Drivers will be allowed to look at smartphones while operating level 3 vehicles

Japan is setting new standards for equipment used in self-driving cars, like cameras and sensors.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan looks to clear a path for allowing self-driving cars on public roads, by updating traffic law to set new standards for driver conduct and vehicle safety like those already enacted in other advanced economies.

The government aims to have automobiles that can handle routine driving without human input -- so-called level 3 autonomous vehicles -- on the roads by 2020. But the country's legal framework does not address issues related to such vehicles, a problem that has held back their development by Japanese players.

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