Wednesday 28 April 2021 8:40 am

Driverless cars set for UK roads by the end of the year

Britain’s roads could see their first driverless cars by the end of the year after the Department for Transport gave an autonomous driving system the green light today.

Officials said that the technology could improve road safety by reducing human error, which contributes to over 85 per cent of accidents. 

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In a statement this morning, the DfT confirmed that vehicles fitted with the Automated Lane Keeping System (ALKS) technology would be the first such cars to be legalised.

The system, which is designed for use on a motorway with slow traffic, enables a vehicle to drive itself in a single lane.

The Daily Mail, which first reported the announcement, said that the system could only operate up to 37 miles per hour.

It helps reduce incidents by allowing the driver to hand control over to the vehicle, which will constantly monitor speed and keep a safe distance from other cars.

Drivers will not be able to change lanes while using the technology.

Transport minister Rachel Maclean welcomed the move, saying: “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.

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“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. In doing so, we can improve transport for all, securing the UK’s place as a global science superpower.”

The Highway Code is now consulting on what rules will be put into new laws to make sure the technology is safely used.