The UK government has begun consultation that is set to create safe use rules for automated vehicles on British roads.
Automated vehicle technology is set to play a major role in the transport revolution happening across the UK, helping to improve transport by making journeys safer, more flexible, and more reliable.
The Safe Use Rules for Automated Vehicles consultation was an outcome requirement of the August 2020 call for evidence on the safe use of Automated Lane Keeping Systems (ALKS).
Now, the consultation has set out proposals to amend the Highway Code and create rules on the safe use of automated vehicles on British motorways.
The government said the consultation on ALKS aims to ensure the first steps taken by the UK to introduce automation to the mass market are safe, clear on driver responsibilities, and supportive of innovation.
Controversy has surrounded automated vehicle technology for many years, with concerns about the safety of driverless cars raised on more than one occasion.
In 2018 a woman in Arizona died after she was hit by a self-driving Uber car. Last month two men were killed when a Tesla car believed to be driving autonomously crashed into a tree and caught fire in Texas.
The UK has played a major role in developing international regulations to support increasing automation and is one of the global leaders in its development.
The government said it will continue to work closely with industry and academia to develop and safely deploy advanced automated vehicle technologies.
In March 2020 the ALKS regulation was endorsed and the process of allowing vehicles to be fitted with the technology is underway.
ALKS will be the first approved system designed to perform autonomous driving, under certain conditions. This is a significant first step toward developing systems with even higher levels of autonomy.
The ALKS regulation sets out the technical requirements for ALKS but certain aspects of its use require further consideration at a national level.
The government is seeking views on proposed changes to The Highway Code from a wide range of respondents including academia, representative organisations, industry, and the public.
The closing date for comments is 28 May 2021. After the consultation is closed, officials will analyse responses and prepare a summary of responses by summer 2021.
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