Govt green lights self-driving cars on UK roads

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The government said automated lane-keeping systems (ALKS) would be the first type of hands-free driving legalised…reports Asian Lite News.

Motorists could see self-driving vehicles on British roads for the first time later this year, the Department for Transport has announced.

The government said automated lane-keeping systems (ALKS) would be the first type of hands-free driving legalised.

Designed for use on a motorway in slow traffic, 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.

The technology controls the position and speed of a car in a single lane and it will be limited to 37mph (60km/h), the BBC reported.

The technology could improve road safety by reducing human error, which contributes to over 85% of accidents. The driver will be able to hand control over to the vehicle, which will constantly monitor speed and keep a safe distance from other cars.

Transport Minister Rachel Maclean said it is a major step for the safe use of self-driving vehicles in the UK, “making future journeys greener, easier and more reliable while also helping the nation to build back better.”

“But we must ensure that this exciting new tech is deployed safely, which is why we are consulting on what the rules to enable this should look like. In doing so, we can improve transport for all, securing the UK’s place as a global science superpower,” the minister 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,” said SMMT Chief Executive, Mike Hawes. “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.”

“Technologies such as Automated Lane Keeping Systems will pave the way for higher levels of automation in future – and these advances will unleash Britain’s potential to be a world leader in the development and use of these technologies, creating essential jobs while ensuring our roads remain among the safest on the planet,” he said.

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