The government has launched a consultation on the introduction of ALKS, an automated system that can take over control of the vehicle and keep it in lane on motorways.
ALKS (Automated Lane Keeping System), which is likely to be available in cars entering the UK market from Spring 2021, will allow motorists to delegate the task of driving to the vehicle for extended periods of time.
The driver will have to resume driving control when prompted by the vehicle and part of the consultation will gather evidence from industry on whether the self-driving technology should be legally defined as an automated vehicle. If so, the technology provider would be responsible for the safety of the vehicle when the system is engaged.
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.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “Automated technologies for vehicles, of which automated lane keeping is the latest, will be life-changing, making our journeys safer and smoother than ever before and helping prevent some 47,000 serious accidents and save 3,900 lives over the next decade.
“This advanced technology is ready for roll out in new models from as early as 2021, so today’s announcement is a welcome step in preparing the UK for its use, so we can be among the first to grasp the benefits of this road safety revolution.”
The ALKS Regulation was approved by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) – of which the UK is a member – in June 2020.
“Over the last 50 years, leading edge in-car technology from seat belts to airbags and ABS has helped to save thousands of lives,” added Edmund King, AA president. “The government is right to be consulting on the latest collision-avoidance system which has the potential to make our roads even safer in the future.”
The open consultation – Safe use of Automated Lane Keeping System on GB motorways: call for evidence – can be found here.