When self-driving cars are introduced, smart highway safety could become “considerably worse.”


When self-driving cars are introduced, smart highway safety could become “considerably worse.”


On smart motorway systems, self-driving cars raise “significant issues,” potentially putting motorists in risk. The technology may not be able to deal with smart motorway breakdowns, according to Sarah Simpson, a Transport Planning expert at Royal Haskoning DHV.

This is because the new technology just has “one response” and would be unable to respond to problems in a human-like manner.

The remarks were delivered Tuesday morning at a Transportation Select Committee hearing on smart highways.

The Committee is looking into how future road improvements may affect the safety of smart motorways in the UK as part of the investigation.

“There is a more serious worry, and I am not seeing any response in terms of what observed data will look like moving forward,” Ms Simpson said.

“That is the usage of self-driving cars, and I’m thinking specifically about vehicles equipped with ALKS (Automated Lane Keeping) technology, which are set to be let into highways later this year.

“I believe there are serious concerns, which have undoubtedly been expressed by others.

“I am well aware of the roadside recovery organizations’ concerns about what this means in practice.

“As a result, ALKS-enabled vehicles only have one response to live lane breaks in the real world.

“That means braking, not swerving, and not doing anything else a human driver might do. It’s simply for the sake of breaking.”

“I believe there is a big possibility for the issue to get significantly worse over the next few years, and certainly before the competition of the stocktake measures in September next year,” she added, “before the technology is introduced to give it any hope of improving.”

Last year, the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles held a public consultation on the potential effects of ALKS technology.

Two respondents voiced their discontent with smart highways, pointing out that ALKS could pose additional safety issues.

“The subject of vehicle automation is certainly pretty important,” David Metz, Honorary Professor at UCL Centre for Transport Studies, stated before the Committee.

“In the short term, very low-speed automation in very congested situations is planned.”

“However, there must undoubtedly be an anticipation of considerable improvements in the long run under more comprehensive vehicle automation.”Brinkwire Summary News”.


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