DfT calls for evidence on use of automated lane keeping on motorways

August 18, 2020

The Department for Transport has opened a call for evidence looking at the possible use of Automated Lane Keeping System and whether the technology is compliant with the definition of automation under the Automated and Electric Vehicles Act 2018. The launch of this initiative follows the approval of the ALKS Regulation in June 2020 by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) – of which the UK is a member. The technology is likely to be available in cars entering the UK market from Spring 2021.

ALKS is defined as 

“vehicle technology designed to control the lateral, left and right, and longitudinal, forward and back, movement of the vehicle for an extended period without further driver command. During such times, the system is in primary control of the vehicle, and performs the driving task instead of the driver, at low speeds on motorways.”

The call for evidence, setting out over 30 questions, seek views on how a vehicle can be safely and lawfully driving itself without being controlled and without needing to be monitored, when in automated mode. The questions cover issues such as: 

  • legal barriers to accessing data for incident investigation
  • who should provide driver education
  • how a car should respond to a police or enforcement officer signalling it to pull over
  • whether 10 seconds is fast enough in the foreseeable circumstances to comply with the rules on responding to enforcement vehicles
  • how the cars should recognise signage that may be unique to the UK
  • whether a driver could make use of a car’s infotainment system
  • and whether the system would be safe at up to 70mph

What next?

A public consultation is planned for late 2020 to consult on the detail of any changes to secondary legislation and the Highway Code that are proposed, which will include a summary of responses.

The responses will also inform the Law Commissions’ third consultation paper due in late 2020.