Drive hands-free IN MONTHS as ministers back 'lane-keeping' technology

Hands-free driving on motorways WITHIN MONTHS: Ministers draw up plans to approve ‘lane-keeping’ technology that ‘delegates the task of driving to the vehicle’ at speeds up to 70mph

  • Call for evidence about cars using Automated Lane Keeping System (ALKS) 
  • Technology will be available from the spring and they want views on legislation
  • Claims it can prevent 47,000 accidents and save 3,900 lives over next decade

Technology that automatically keeps cars in their lane on motorways without the driver steering could be on UK roads as early as next year, the Government revealed today.

Ministers are examining whether vehicles fitted with an Automated Lane Keeping System (ALKS) should be allowed to use it at speeds of up to 70mph on some of the country’s busiest roads.

In a call for evidence released today they suggest the technology will be available in cars from the spring and asks for views on how it should be legislated.

They believe it will make roads safer by cutting accidents caused by people changing lanes. 

The technology is backed by the AA and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which say it could prevent tens of thousands of accidents.

The Department for Transport wants to determine ‘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’.

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.

Ministers are examining whether vehicles fitted with an Automated Lane Keeping System (ALKS) should be allowed to use it at speeds of up to 70mph on some of the country’s busiest roads

How the Government sees the new technology

‘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.’

According to the DfT, ALKS  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.’

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), 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.’

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