Govt consultation brings autonomous vehicles a step closer

The Government has launched a call for evidence on Automated Lane Keeping Systems and the legal liabilities that attach when these systems are engaged.

ALKS technology enables drivers to delegate the task of driving to the vehicle. When activated, the system keeps the vehicle within its lane, controlling its movements for extended periods of time without the driver needing to do anything.

The call for evidence will ask whether vehicles using this technology should be legally defined as an automated vehicle, which would mean the technology provider would be responsible for the safety of the vehicle when the system is engaged, rather than the driver.

Grant Shapps, secretary of state for transport, said: “The call for evidence explores the challenges associated with switching control of a vehicle between the driver and the vehicle system, and the changing role and responsibilities of a driver, including the potential for the driver to safely undertake other activities when the vehicle system is engaged.

“It explores the implications for insurance, data and cyber security as well as the potential challenges for the technology in meeting domestic road traffic rules. Finally, it explores the potential to safely use these vehicle systems at higher speeds.”

The consultation deadline is 27th October. In late 2020, the Government plans to launch a public consultation on the detail of any changes to legislation and The Highway Code that are proposed, which will include a summary of responses to this call for evidence.

Image: The Driven vehicle, powered by Oxbotica

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