De Facto and De Jure Standards

A variety of European companies are banding together to push for uniform autonomous driving standards on the Continent.

According to Autocar professional:

Antoine Saucier, managing director for TomTom Automotive commented, “TomTom is delighted that the Dutch presidency is taking the initiative to accelerate innovation and development around autonomous driving in the EU. We are excited to work with PSA Group to support this event and to play a role in enabling the automotive industry to move closer to making autonomous driving a reality.”

This reminds me of the discussion of de jure and de facto standards we had in business school.

De jure (“by law”) standards are top-down and almost never work.

De facto (“by fact”) standards are bottom-up and generally are established by whoever gets a product to market first.

I wouldn’t be shocked to see the EU issue formal regulations in one direction, and then struggle to deal with the fact that the first autonomous vehicles don’t conform to the de jure rules.

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