Government launches consultation on an automated system capable of taking vehicle control to make driving safer and easier.
- call for evidence launches on using new technology for automated driving at low speeds
- technology could make driving safer, smoother and easier for motorists
- drivers could see systems on UK vehicles by spring 2021
The UK is taking steps forward in automated technology in vehicles with the launch of a call for evidence today (18 August 2020) 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 that 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 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.
Transport Minister Rachel Maclean said:
Automated technology could make driving safer, smoother and easier for motorists and the UK should be the first country to see these benefits, attracting manufacturers to develop and test new technologies.
The UK’s work in this area is world leading and the results from this call for evidence could be a significant step forward for this exciting technology.
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 government is acting now to ensure that regulation is ready where necessary for its introduction.
Edmund King, AA president, said:
Over the last 50 years, leading edge in-car technology from seat belts to airbags and ABS has helped to save thousands of lives.
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.
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.
As automated technology in vehicles continues to improve, it must be used safely by drivers in the UK. By issuing a call for evidence we are giving those with information or concerns about ALKS technology an opportunity to help shape future policy.
In late 2020, we plan to launch 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.
Published 18 August 2020
Safe use of Automated Lane Keeping System on GB motorways: call for evidence
Seeks views on safe use of Automated Lane Keeping System (ALKS) on Great Britain's motorways.
This consultation closes at
We are consulting on the use of Automated Lane Keeping System (ALKS) on Great Britain’s motorways, including:
- an overview of ALKS
- ensuring the safe use of ALKS
- questions around fair delegation and residual responsibility
- questions around the performance of other activities
ALKS is vehicle technology designed to control the lateral, left and right, and longitudinal, forward and back, movement of the vehicle for an extended period without further driver command. During such times, the system is in primary control of the vehicle, and performs the driving task instead of the driver, at low speeds on motorways.
We are seeking views to understand if ALKS technology is compliant with the definition of automation under the Automated and Electric Vehicles Act 2018. This act requires that the vehicle be capable of safely and lawfully driving itself without being controlled and without needing to be monitored, when in automated mode.
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From: Department for Transport
Published 18 August 2020
Last updated 21 August 2020
Consultation response email address altered.