It does feel like it is only a matter of time before self-driving cars become something of the modern standard. With certain parts of America already allowing their usage, however, following a report via the BBC, the UK Government has suggested that, pending a lot more testing and investigations, self-driving cars may be made legal for the roads before the end of the year!
Although not quite going as far as allowing AI to have full control of the vehicle, the UK Department for Transport has suggested that the usage of automated lane-keeping systems (ALKS) might be legally permissible before the end of 2021. However, the technology currently only supports single-lane roads and is limited to 37mph, so this would largely only be used on non-residential A-roads.
“This is a major step for the safe use of self-driving vehicles in the UK, making future journeys greener, easier, and more reliable while also helping the nation to build back better. But we must ensure that this exciting new tech is deployed safely, which is why we are consulting on what the rules to enable this should look like.” – UK Transport Minister Rachel Maclean
While the legal introduction of an ALKS system is certainly a first tentative step towards total self-driving cars, insurance groups are already more than a little sceptical that such a move would ultimately be a positive one for drivers. As noted above, one of their biggest concerns is that such systems will ultimately only breed complacency in drivers. The UK Government has already suggested that regulations would be necessary to require the ‘driver’ to, although not technically having control of the vehicle, at least be in an alert and aware manner if some overriding inputs are necessary.
The sad part is that although this does sound in principal to be an excellent idea to improve safety. You already know that if this does come into effect, we’re going to see people mindlessly tapping away at their phones even more behind the wheel!
What do you think? – Let us know in the comments!
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