The UK is taking steps forward in automated technology in vehicles with the launch of a Call for Evidence to help shape how innovative new systems could be used in future on GB roads.
The Call for Evidence will look at the Automated Lane Keeping System (ALKS) – an automated system which can take over control of the vehicle at low speeds, keeping it in lane on motorways.
This technology is designed to enable drivers – for the first time ever – to delegate the task of driving to the vehicle. When activated, the system keeps the vehicle within its lane, controlling its movements for extended periods of time without the driver needing to do anything. The driver must be ready and able to resume driving control when prompted by the vehicle.
The UK government is seeking views from industry on the role of the driver and proposed rules on the use of this system to pave the way towards introducing it safely in Great Britain, within the current legal framework. The Call for Evidence will ask whether vehicles using this technology should be legally defined as an automated vehicle, which would mean the technology provider would be responsible for the safety of the vehicle when the system is engaged, rather than the driver.
The Call for Evidence also seeks views on government proposals to allow the safe use of this system on British roads at speeds of up to 70mph.
Following the approval of ALKS Regulation in June 2020 by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) – of which the UK is a member – the technology is likely to be available in cars entering the UK market from Spring 2021.
The UK government also plans to launch later this year a public consultation on the detail of any changes to legislation and the Highway Code that are proposed, which will include a summary of responses to this Call for Evidence.