Britain Set To Be First Country To Let Drivers Take Their Hands Off The Wheel On Motorways
It would allow car drivers to do other tasks such as send texts and emails and could reportedly be allowed to begin operating this summer.
However, the government has signalled that the technology will only be permitted in stop-start motorway traffic at speeds of up to 37mph, rather than the 70mph speed limit for motorways.
The Sunday Times reports that senior officials at the Department for Transport (DfT) told insurance chiefs about their proposals for the technology last week.
The plans would see the legislation of Automated Lane Keeping System (ALKS) technology that takes full control of the steering of the car and keeps it in lane. For over a decade, many cars have fitted with Lane Keeping Assist functions and it works by using sensors to alert the driver when they are veering out of their lane and require the driver to correct the car's position.
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ALKS is a more advanced version of this technology because it allows the vehicle to stay in a lane by controlling the movements of the car for an extended period of time without the driver needed to do anything. The driver must be ready to resume control of the vehicle when prompted.
New Teslas and Mercedes S-Class due to arrive in showrooms later this year are expected to be among the first cars eligible.
Ahead of the introduction of the technology onto British roads, concerns have been raised about safety. AA and Thatcham Research, the motor insurance industry's research body, have highlighted alarming weaknesses. Cars cannot change lanes to avoid a hazard, they are instead slowed to a halt.
Lilian Greenwood, a Labour MP on the transport select committee, warned: "It simply isn't safe for drivers to ignore the road and do other things while the technology is unable to respond safely to the unexpected."
Tyla has contacted the Department for Transport for comment.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock
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