Automated lane keeping system ‘opens up risks’ as driving laws set to change

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Automated lane keeping systems look set to be introduced to new cars sold in the UK from 2021. The Department for Transport (DfT) has opened up a consultation to allow those in the industry to submit evidence on the safety of the new technology. 

The report will also drive whether any new driving laws must be set and changes to the Highway Code may be made. 

But Antony Edwards, COO at intelligent automation specialists, Eggplant warns the new technology could lead to further challenges. 

He has warned extra vehicle technology could lead to hackers using the tool as a way to access vehicles for cyber attacks. 

Mr Edwards said that securing the systems is one area which “needs to be addressed”. 

He said: “It is extremely important that this type of technology is constantly tested to detect errors and anomalies in the software.

“Autonomous driving opens up new opportunities but also risks. Ensuring driver and vehicle safety will always be a top priority. 

“But in-vehicle technology also presents the challenge to protect drivers’ personal data from getting into the wrong hands. 

“Securing systems against hackers and effectively securing the systems against cyber attacks is another facet that needs to be addressed.”

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ALKS software has been developed to automatically take control of a vehicle at slower speeds to ensure it stays in the correct lane. 

The DfT report will assess whether the technology should make the cars legally defined as an “automated vehicle. 

This clarity is vital to determine whether drivers are responsible for accidents when their vehicle is engaged in the self-driving mode. 

The DfT call for evidence will also look at whether the technology will be safe to use at speeds of up to 70mph. 

But experts at Eggplant have warned that the motoring industry must develop a “testing solution” to address even more new challenges when they arise. 

They said these challenges also include testing cars ability to communicate with other vehicles and infrastructure. 

Mr Edwards added: “Only with testing technology, something which is not often talked about, can we pave the road for continued innovation in the automotive sector and realise the promise of a connected future.

“To truly test the entire autonomous vehicle experience, forward-thinking companies are exploring ways to apply Artificial Intelligence (AI). 

“Not just to the self-driving capability but to the technology testing the in-vehicle systems.” 

Some industry experts have already praised the new technology which many believe could boost road safety. 

AA President Edmund King predicts the new tool could make roads “even safer in the future”

SMMT chairman Mike Hawes also believes the new technology could help save lives and reduce injuries. 

He said: “Automated technologies for vehicles, of which automated lane keeping is the latest, will be life-changing, making our journeys safer and smoother than ever before and helping prevent some 47,000 serious accidents and save 3,900 lives over the next decade.”

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