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'Self-Driving' Cars To Be Allowed On UK Roads This Year

Wednesday April 28, 2021. 11:30 PM , from Slashdot
'Self-driving' vehicles could be allowed on UK roads by the end of this year, the government has said. The BBC reports: The Department for Transport said automated lane-keeping systems (ALKS) would be the first type of hands-free driving legalized. The technology controls the position and speed of a car in a single lane and it will be limited to 37mph (60km/h). Following a consultation last year, the government has now said that vehicles with ALKS technology can be legally defined as self-driving, 'as long as they receive GB type approval and that there is no evidence to challenge the vehicle's ability to self-drive.' The government confirmed that drivers will not be required to monitor the road or keep their hands on the wheel when the vehicle is driving itself. But the driver will need to stay alert and be able take over when requested by the system within 10 seconds. If a driver fails to respond, the vehicle will automatically put on its hazard lights to warn nearby vehicles, slow down and eventually stop. The Highway Code is now consulting on what rules will be put into new laws to make sure the technology is safely used. 'ALKS as currently proposed by the government are not automated,' cautions Matthew Avery, director of research at Thatcham Research. 'They are assisted driving systems as they rely on the driver to take back control. Aside from the lack of technical capabilities, by calling ALKS automated our concern also is that the UK government is contributing to the confusion and frequent misuse of assisted driving systems that have unfortunately already led to many tragic deaths. Consumers will expect the car to do the job of a driver, which current models can't do.'

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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