Dr Basu co-authors article on automated lane-keeping systems and driver behaviour

Dr Basu FRSA, Associate Professor in Information Technology Law, and Dr Pattinson, Institute for Transport Studies Research Fellow, have written for The Register on automated lane-keeping systems.

In April 2021, the UK government announced, “the first types of self-driving cars could be on UK roads this year”. Dr Subhajit Basu and Dr Jo-Ann Pattinson explain that this statement is not entirely accurate, “Firstly, the announcement refers not to self-driving vehicles, but vehicles fitted with automated lane-keeping systems (ALKS), and secondly, [the UK] already have technology similar to this driving on our roads”.

The current law states drivers “must keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road”. The co-authors state that the government’s announcement suggests “the intention to allow drivers to take their eyes off the road, and for the driving assistance system to be responsible while the system is engaged”. Moreover, it implies that the industry and regulators have resolved issues relating to how drivers interact with advanced driving assistance systems. However, this is far from the case and Dr Basu and Dr Pattinson think there is more to learn within this emerging industry.

The article discusses whether the UK is prepared for ALKS technology to be widely accessible and covers key issues to ensure driver and passenger safety. The piece explores how technical and operational challenges will arise from ALKS, for example understanding the complexities of the human driver and ALKS relationship and appropriate training for drivers. In addition, the piece explores the legal issues linked to rights, responsibilities and liability created through the notion of shared driving (between human driver and automated systems) and whether new legislation needs to be introduced to reflect the shift.

The piece concludes that further research will need to be conducted into the various aspects of ALKS.

Dr Basu is a co-investigator for the Enhance driver behaviour and Public Acceptance of Connected and Autonomous vehicLes (PASCAL) project. The international project aims to develop a multidimensional map of public acceptance of higher levels of Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV), pointing out any critical issues on the matter, particularly investigating the new ‘driver’ needs considering different modes and mobility services. The project’s goal is to “to create a ‘Guide2Autonomy’ (G2A), a set of guidelines and recommendations aimed at accelerating the user-friendly evolution of connected automated vehicles and transport systems”.

Read the full article in The Register.