The Department for Transport today announced that self-driving vehicles could be used on British roads by the end of this year. Vehicles using Automated Lane Keeping System (ALKS) technology designed to ease congestion and reduce human error will be limited to speeds of up to 37mph on motorways.
Now, we know what you’re thinking…isn’t a vehicle travelling at 37 mph on a motorway a hazard? The government says that vehicles fitted with ALKS technology could legally be defined as self-driving, as long as they receive GB type approval. They are specifically designed for use on a motorway in slow traffic when ALKS enables a vehicle to drive itself in a single lane, while maintaining the ability to easily and safely return control to the driver when required.
So let’s not rush to judgement. Here at Need To Know Motors we have experienced cars using this technology in Ireland (we don’t know if it was legal or not so we’re not naming the driver…it was our friend Roy showing off his Tesla) and it seemed to work perfectly fine. The car prompts the driver to prove they’re still awake by touching the steering wheel.
The hope is that this technology could improve road safety by reducing human error, which contributes to over 85% of accidents.
SMMT Chief Executive, Mike Hawes, said: “The automotive industry welcomes this vital step to permit the use of automated vehicles on UK roads, which will put Britain in the vanguard of road safety and automotive technology. Automated driving systems could prevent 47,000 serious accidents and save 3,900 lives over the next decade through their ability to reduce the single largest cause of road accidents – human error.”