LONDON: Self-driving vehicles could hit the road this year on motorways in Britain, the government said Wednesday, under plans to permit motorists to temporarily take their hands off the wheel.
The Department for Transport (DfT) said in a statement that it will allow hands-free driving in cars equipped with lane-keeping technology, for use during slow motorway traffic. Automated Lane Keeping System (ALKS) technology, which has been internationally adopted for the development of autonomous cars, limits speed to 37 miles (60 kilometres) per hour.
The “first type of self-driving vehicles could be on UK roads by the end of this year”, the DfT said Wednesday, adding this could “ease congestion, cut emissions and reduce human error”. Drivers will hand control over to the car, which then automatically monitors speed and keeps a safe distance from other vehicles, but can swiftly resume control when required.