Automated lane keeping in UK in 2021 will “put lives at risk”

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    Government plans to legalise the use of hands-free automated lane keeping systems (ALKS) on motorways next year have come under fire from one of the UK’s leading safety bodies.

    Thatcham Research claims the plan, which would be implemented in the spring pending the results of a safety consultation ending this week, would “put road users’ lives at risk” because the current technology has “significant performance limitations”.

    Although the systems have to be updated from the current, widely offered lane keeping software to be classified as ALKS, the main difference is that the car would no longer prompt drivers to return their hands to the wheel. Drivers would be legally able to go hands-free and let the car take full control of steering inputs on UK motorways at speeds of up to 70mph.

    Thatcham said: “Both the functionality of this technology and the regulations under which they will operate are limited. They cannot replicate what a competent and engaged human driver does.”

    Thatcham director of research Matthew Avery said that although the new systems won’t monitor whether the driver has their hands on the wheel, “there has been no quantum leap in the technology that makes ALKS more suited to automated driving”.

    Avery added: “The vehicles we’ve seen simply have a couple of extra lidar sensors on them and that means they’re simply not suitable for automated driving. While we wholeheartedly support the introduction of automated driving, it has to be competent driving that’s as good at dealing with all sorts of situations on the road as real drivers, and ALKS have a number of serious limitations.”

    Thatcham highlighted a number of scenarios where the current systems it has tested do not respond in the same way as a driver would. Situations where a driver would slow well in advance or make an evasive lane-changing manoeuvre, such as to avoid debris or pedestrians encroaching on the carriageway after a breakdown, are either not dealt with in time or ignored by the systems entirely.

    Other examples include smart motorway lane closures, where the system would not recognise a red X on an overhead gantry sign. Generally, the issue, Thatcham claims, is that today’s systems can only interpret up to around 120m ahead – which at 70mph would allow only four seconds for either the system or the driver to react to an oncoming hazard.

    “Our conclusion is that automated lane keeping system technology is not safe enough to be classified as automated”, Avery said. “We believe it should be regarded as assisted technology because the driver needs to remain alert”.

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    When I  was at primary school in the 70’s I got a new  watch for Christmas it was a digital watch with extra stuff on it like a calculator , a timer , tell the time in other country’s  and lots of other useless things , I thought I was so cool with this big fancy watch . But it keeped not working properly, the batters didnt last long . It’s like new cars with all these new fancy extras we think there great we think we need them and they’ll help but like everything at the early stages  there’s going to be problems and issues.
    Lots of new tech does help but where is it going to stop , self driving , self parking , it’ll get to the stage we will need to do nothing apart from site there.

    When my kids order a takeaway they use the app there’s no way they would phone the place at the end of the street because they’d need to talk to someone ,the deliver person leaves the food at the door they don’t even talk to him, and a tip for the driver it’s done in the  app , all these new tech is all geared for a younger tech savvy generation , You wouldn’t leave some other machines  to do it’s on  thing , are we just becoming lazy for technology  or am I just becoming old !

    I looked at the Honda CR-V today it doe not have gear stick its got buttons , I thought I couldn’t teach the kids to drive (if I wanted to )

    All this  new tech it’s going to get better, and better Or worse and worse depending on your point of view . Sorry for the rant

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