Green light for lane-keeping assist is first step on autonomous journey

Automatic Lane Keeping System (ALKS) is to be legalised by the UK government with ‘self-driving cars’ to be allowed on UK roads by the end of this year.

Automated vehicle technologies are set to bring disruptive change to the way we use transport. One such technology is Automatic Lane Keeping System (ALKS), which utilises advanced camera and sensor technology to control the position and speed of a vehicle (up to 37mph) in a single lane without driver engagement. 

Following a consultation last year, the government has today confirmed that vehicles with ALKS technology can be legally defined as ‘self-driving’, making ALKS the first type of hands-free driving to be legalised in the UK. This major milestone could mean we see Level 3 automated vehicles operating on our roads later in 2021.

Although legally defined as ‘self-driving’, a driver is still required and the technology simply keeps the vehicle in lane at slower speeds.

The technology is already fitted to a number of vehicles, including high-end Mercedes-Benz and Tesla cars on UK roads.

Its development will help road safety and is expected to make the move to commercial vehicles, such as vans and trucks, shortly.

Says TRL, the global centre for innovation in surface transport and mobility: “We have begun a decade of considerable change for the automotive industry. To ensure the continued safety of road users, it is critical that all stakeholders – from collision investigators to insurers – maintain pace with technological change and evolve in tandem.

“A new automotive environment is coming, and all sectors involved in transport must begin preparations now.”

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