Around spring of this year, the UK government will put in place laws that will allow self driving cars running on ALKS technology, to travel on UK roads. After conducting consultations last year, the spokesperson for the British government told BBB News that such plans will proceed accordingly within the given timeframe.
Apparently the government sees no reason for any delay since there has been no evidence presented to challenge the legality of self-driving vehicles as long as they meet the requirements for GB Type Approval. The latter refers to a vehicle registration scheme that ensures motorists will use only motor vehicles fit to run on Great Britain’s roads.
What is ALKS Technology in Car Automation?
ALKS stands for Automated Lane Keeping System, touted as the most advanced technology used in car automation designed specifically with the UK roads in mind. According to the Department for Transport, ALKS will be the first type self-driving and hands-free driving that will be legalised.
An activated ALKS will keep the automated vehicle running within its lane, and at the same time take control of the vehicle’s movements, speed and position, without requiring any action from the driver, even for extended periods of time. Still, the ALKS technology will limit the vehicle’s speed by up to 37 mph only.
Basic Rules that Will Apply as Laws for Self-Driving Cars
The Department for Transport with the help of the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, are now consulting on what additional rules will be added to the Highway Code and implemented as laws to ensure that ALKS supported self-driving cars will be used safely by motorists.
Nonetheless, the government’s announcement cited examples of basic rules that will be implemented as laws, when motorists take out self-driving cars on UK roads.
Drivers will need to stay alert even as the vehicle is driving itself, so they will be able to the respond within 10 seconds, in case the system makes a request for them to take over.
If in case a driver does not respond within the allotted time, the vehicle will automatically turn on its hazard lights, then decrease speed until it stops.