Hands-free driving could be on UK roads in the spring

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Long stretches of highway driving could be a thing of the past


Hands-free driving could hit UK roads by the spring of next year, the government said, launching a consultation on the technology.

The Ministry of Transport (DfT) has launched a call for evidence concerning automated lane-keeping systems (ALKS).

Such technology controls the movement of a car and can keep it in the lane for long periods of time, even if drivers must be prepared to regain control.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders says it could reduce accidents.

According to the DfT, the technology could be given the green light for speeds of up to 70 mph, which could make long distances of tedious highway driving a thing of the past.

ALKS technology has been approved by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), of which the UK is a member.

The UK government is keen to hear voices within the auto industry to decide how to safely implement the technology, with the consultation closing on October 27.

The introduction of the systems would require changes to the current legal framework.

The call for evidence will also examine whether ALKS-compatible cars should be classified as automated, meaning that the technology provider rather than the driver would be responsible for safety while the system is engaged.

Transport Minister Rachel Maclean said: ‘Automated technology could make driving safer, smoother and easier for motorists and the UK should be the first country to see these benefits, prompting manufacturers to develop and test new technologies. ”

Mike Hawes, executive director of the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said automated technologies will “change lives” and could prevent 47,000 serious accidents over the next 10 years.

AA President Edmund King welcomed the move, saying the UK was right to consider measures that could potentially make roads safer.

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