The kingdom was the first to decide to develop rules for the operation of autonomous vehicles, but with a number of restrictions.
With the advent of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), which are becoming more efficient in lane control and braking and accelerating vehicles, the UK government is about to set rules to legalize self-driving vehicles. The local government believes this technology will help reduce congestion in cities and improve road safety by reducing human error.
But we’re not talking about the fully self-driving cars that you’re probably thinking of. Instead, the UK Department of Transportation says that “Automated Lane Keeping Assist (ALKS) can be legally defined as autonomous driving.” According to the new rules, the system must work in one lane and be able to control the position of the car at speeds below 60 km / h. When autonomous driving is active, the driver does not need to monitor the road. And when the system considers that human intervention is necessary, the driver must respond within 10 seconds. If not, the system must turn on the hazard lights and slow the vehicle to a standstill.
This definition of self-driving is largely consistent with SAE Level 3 automation, which is tantamount to conditional automation where “the driver is a necessity but not required to monitor the environment. The driver must be ready to take control of the vehicle. “
Some might argue that such a system is not actually self-driving like a robotaxi, but the path to true Level 5 has only just begun, so some form of regulation is needed to help automakers improve their systems.
There is already one vehicle in Japan that meets the UK definition of a self-driving car. Honda Legend (Acura RLX), capable of self-driving at a speed of 50 km / h on motorways. In 2017, Audi unveiled the A8 with similar technology, but due to regulatory hurdles, the system was never widely adopted. Now it looks like Audi can bring the system back to the UK market. In the end, it looks like UK regulations on unmanned (or more accurately, semi-autonomous) vehicles will be expanded to allow for Tier 4 and – someday – Tier 5 integration capabilities.