Self-driving cars will be allowed on UK roads already this year, according to a decision by Britain’s Department for Transport.
These are ALKS (Automated Lane Keeping Systems) that can keep the car running in one lane, and are limited to a maximum of 37 miles per hour, which equates to 60 kilometers per hour.
The government maintains that a driver does not have to guard the road or put his or her hands on the wheel if the AKLS is driving.
However, the driver should be ready to take over within ten seconds if the system starts to warn. Otherwise, the car lights up the warning light, brakes and stops, According to the BBC.
The British Transport Secretary said: “This is an important step towards the safe use of self-driving vehicles in the UK, making future journeys greener, easier and more reliable while helping the nation build better.” Rachel McClain for BBC.
The British government hopes to be at the forefront of developing self-driving cars, and predicts that 40% of new cars sold in 2035 will have the technology to drive more or less without a driver.
“Automated driving systems can prevent 47,000 serious accidents and save 3,900 lives in the next decade through their ability to reduce the single largest cause of traffic accidents – human error,” said Mike Howes, CEO of the Association of Automobile Manufacturers and Traders.
Critics warn of abuse
However, critics protest that the government calls ALKS systems self-driving cars in the UK.
“Apart from the lack of technical capabilities, our concern is that the British government is contributing to the confusion and frequent misuse of assistive driving systems which, unfortunately, has already led to many tragic deaths by automatically calling the ALKS,” he said. Matthew Avery Director of Research at Thatcham Research, which conducts tests for auto insurance companies.
“Consumers expect the car to do the job as a driver, which current models can’t do,” he says. .
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