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Automated Lane Keeping System call for evidence

27 August 2020

The UK Government has launched a consultation on an automated system capable of taking vehicle control to make driving safer and easier.

This could lead to the introduction of cars with Level 3 autonomous driving capabilities by next year. The Call for Evidence will look at the  Automated Lane Keeping System (ALKS) –  an automated system which can control the steering, brakes and acceleration of the vehicle (currently at low speeds of up to 37mph), keeping it in lane.

This technology is designed to enable drivers – for the first time ever – to delegate the task of driving to the vehicle in certain situations, such as traffic jams. 

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, however.

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.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, 'Autonomous vehicle technologies, 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 bringing the regulation up to speed so that the UK can be among the first to grasp the benefits of this road safety revolution.'

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. It also seeks views on Government proposals to allow the safe use of this system on British roads at speeds of up to 70mph, where technology allows.