UK government launches consultation on Automated Lane Keeping System

The UK government has announced a new consultation into Automated Lane Keeping System (ALKS) technology which is capable of taking control of a vehicle at low speeds without any input from the driver.

The technology can control the car’s movements for extended periods without the driver’s control – though they’ll need to be ready to resume driving input when prompted by the vehicle itself.

The government is asking for views from the industry on the role of the driver in the process, and how the technology can be implemented safely in the UK within the current legal framework.

Rachel Maclean, transport minister, 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.

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“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.”

The government is also asking for evidence as to whether vehicles fitted with this technology should be legally classed as an automated vehicle. If so, the technology provider would be responsible for the safety of the vehicle when the system is engaged rather than the driver.

The consultation also looks at proposals to allow the use of the technology on British roads at speeds of up to 70mph.

Following on from the approval of the ALKS Regulation in June by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) – which the UK is a member of – the technology could become available on cars in UK markets by spring 2021.

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.”