Last month, the Government launched a consultation on the topic of Automated Lane Keeping Systems, a new technology said to improve the safety of drivers.
What is an Automated Lane Keeping System?
ALKS technology is an automated piece of technology that takes control of a vehicle at low speeds and keeps it in the lane. This would mark the first piece of technology that would enable drivers to delegate the task of driving. The vehicle technology takes control of both the longitudinal (forward and back) and lateral (left and right) movements of the car with the government describing it as a “traffic jam chauffeur”.
This system differs from the traditional lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control or Tesla’s Autopilot in that the driver can safely delegate to the car in certain traffic conditions.
Currently, under the United Nations Economic Committee for Europe (UNECE) regulation, the technology is limited to use under speeds of 37 mph. However, the UK Government recognises that manufacturers may be able to enable the tech for safer driving at higher speeds.
Since the Government is no longer bound by EU law due to Brexit, lawmakers can be more flexible in the requirements for new cars. The ultimate goal of this consultation is to determine the likelihood that ALKS would be safe to use at speeds of 70 mph in the future.
The main reason for the technology existing is to aid road safety, and seems a natural progression from the introduction of seat belt enforcement and airbags that the industry has seen over the last 50 years.
With technology like this currently in the pipeline, we could be one step closer to the “car of the future” with fully autonomous systems hitting the roads.