Automated driving: latest consultation from the Department for Transport

The DfT today launched a suite of five new consultation exercises as part of its future of transport regulatory review programme. These are open for responses until 24 November 2021 and focus on: zero emission vehicles, autonomous shipping, future of flight, modernising vehicle standards and on regulatory sandboxes (the last of these describes a way of flexing regulation to allow innovative tech to be trialled ahead of formal rule changes).

The vehicle standards consultation will be highly relevant to those interested in automated vehicles / driving and runs somewhat in parallel to and in conjunction with the Law Commission’s preparation of its final report on AVs, which is due by the end of the year.

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Self-driving lane-keeping systems to go live on UK roads

Following a consultation last year on authorising ALKS – Automated Lane Keeping Systems – the DfT today announced that these in-car systems will be authorised for road use by the end of 2021. ALKS is designed for ‘driverless’ motorway journeys at moderate speed and despite its ‘A’ standing for Automated, there is genuine debate over whether the technology satisfies the stringent definition of “a vehicle driving itself” as set out in the Automated & Electric Vehicles Act (AEVA) 2018 which came into force just last week (21 April).

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