Featured image: Tesla
The UK government already has said that by spring 2021, hands-free driving could become legal on the country's roads. In preparation for this transition, officials and pertinent organizations are now initiating a deeper dive into the technology.
The UK is taking steps forward in automated technology in vehicles with the launch of a call for evidence to help shape how innovative new systems could be used in the future on GB roads.
The call for evidence will look at the Automated Lane Keeping System (ALKS)--an automated technology that can take over control of the vehicle at low speeds, keeping it in the lane on motorways.
Transport Minister Rachel Maclean said:
"Automated technology could make driving safer, smoother and easier for motorists and the UK should be the first country to see these benefits, attracting manufacturers to develop and test new technologies."
Following the approval of 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.
The government is acting now to ensure that regulation is ready where necessary for its introduction.
Edmund King, president of the Automobile Association, said:
"Over the last 50 years, leading edge in-car technology from seat belts to airbags and ABS has helped to save thousands of lives.
The government is right to be consulting on the latest collision-avoidance system which has the potential to make our roads even safer in the future."
Mike Hawes, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Chief Executive said:
"Automated technologies for vehicles, of which automated lane keeping is the latest, will be life-changing, making our journeys safer and smoother than ever before and helping prevent some 47,000 serious accidents and save 3,900 lives over the next decade.
This advanced technology is ready for roll out in new models from as early as 2021, so today’s announcement is a welcome step in preparing the UK for its use, so we can be among the first to grasp the benefits of this road safety revolution."
Tesla Autopilot is an advanced driver assistance system that enhances safety and convenience behind the wheel. When used properly, Autopilot reduces the overall workload as a driver. Eight external cameras, a radar, 12 ultrasonic sensors, and a powerful onboard computer provide additional layers of safety.
All Teslas come with a number of life-saving active safety features--including collision avoidance and lane departure, for example--that do not require driver intervention. With Autopilot engaged, drivers must always remain alert and ready to take over. The data collected by the company shows that automated driver assistance systems are already saving lives:
"In the 2nd quarter , we registered one accident for every 4.53 million miles driven in which drivers had Autopilot engaged. For those driving without Autopilot but with our active safety features, we registered one accident for every 2.27 million miles driven. For those driving without Autopilot and without our active safety features, we registered one accident for every 1.56 million miles driven. By comparison, NHTSA's most recent data shows that in the United States there is an automobile crash every 479,000 miles."
The UK government is already heading in the right direction to empower its citizens to travel both legally and with the best, proven safety.
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.