Is this the first real step towards autonomous vehicles in the UK?
It was encouraging to see last week that the UK Government has launched a call for evidence in relation to the safe use of Automated Lane Keeping Systems (ALKS) in the UK. This seems to be a reaction to the UN ECE ALKS Regulation, adopted in June this year, and a push to promote the country as a leader in enabling connected and automated vehicle (CAV) technology in line with their Future of Transport strategy and Automated and Electric Vehicles Act 2018.
The road safety benefits of automated vehicle systems are beyond doubt with 85% of road collisions in the UK resulting in injury being due to human error. However,it is essential that the technologies, and crucially the risks are fully understood and a robust regulatory framework implemented, not just for the vehicles but for road traffic rules, the Highway Code and other stakeholders such as the insurance industry.
The call for evidence is seeking to explore many aspects in relation to how ALKS can be safely deployed in the UK. These include:
How ALKS sits with the current regulatory framework and the recent publications by the Law Commission
The data and cyber security requirements
Limits and boundaries of driver and vehicle responsibilities.
Interestingly, the call for evidence also seeks to investigate the potential for increasing maximum operating speeds for ALKS systems in the UK beyond the 37 mph limit in the UN ECE Regulation to 70 mph.
How and when ALKS is deployed in the UK is going to give us a real insight into how the broader picture of the deployment of vehicles with ever increasing levels of autonomy is likely to be handled. Exciting times...
Links to the call for evidence and key documents discussed can be found below:
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