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Limited automated tech legalised

Automated Lane Keeping Systems have been authorised for use on UK motorways, with the first cars fitted with the systems for use in heavy traffic potentially available later this year.

Vehicles would use ALKS to “drive itself in a single lane”, according to the Department for Transport announcement, at speeds of up to 37mph. Although operating in a very similar way to adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist systems, the difference is that the ALKS can’t be activated by the driver alone. The system itself detects that a suitable environment exists and then alerts the driver to its availability, at which point the user can select it. Once engaged, the system will give a 10-second warning to the driver that they need to regain control, and will trigger the hazard lights and bring the vehicle to a safe stop if the driver does not respond.

The Government has also launched a consultation into how to adapt the Highway Code to reflect the changes.

“The automotive industry welcomes this vital step to permit the use of automated vehicles on UK roads, which will put Britain in the vanguard of road safety and automotive technology,” said Society of Motor Manufactures and Trders chief executive Mike Hawes. “Automated driving systems could prevent 47,000 serious accidents and save 3,900 lives over the next decade through their ability to reduce the single largest cause of road accidents – human error.

EVs now dominate sal-sac: Arval

Almost nine out of 10 cars leased through Arval’s salary sacrifice offering are now electric, compared with 39% two years ago, according to the company’s latest figures.

Taxation is driving the change, which has led to a 252% rise in the number of Arval salary sacrifice cars.

“The single biggest reason behind the rise of the EV-centred salary sacrifice scheme in the last couple of years has been the introduction of zero and very low rate benefit-in-kind taxation rates, meaning that the latest, most advanced and environmentally-friendly cars can be offered to employees at extremely attractive monthly rates,” said Arval UK consultant Richard Cox. “What we are seeing emerging is a definite future mobility role for EV-based salary sacrifice as a key element in a wave of new benefits initiatives that are designed to bring innovative options and ideas into play for employees, with only a very limited investment required by their employer.”

Arval also said that the pandemic has switched workers off the idea of using public transport, and the use of salary sacrifice schemes could prevent a large-scale switch to grey fleet operations that are more difficult to manage.

Five Japanese manufacturers combine on vehicle tech

Toyota, Mazda, Suzuki, Subaru and Daihatsu have combined to jointly develop the technical specifications for next-generation vehicle communication technology such as connected services.

The five brands have also pledged to promote the common use of communication systems, with standardised tech to “link automobiles with society”.

“Suzuki, Subaru, Daihatsu, Toyota, and Mazda will openly consider collaboration with other like-minded partners regarding the joint development agreed on at this time while continuing their efforts to develop services that enrich the lives of people and solve social problems”, said the statement. “Individual automobile manufacturers are independently developing vehicle communications devices, and even in cases where the same connected services such as remote operation functions are provided, each company is adopting a different approach in proceeding with development and deploying relevant resources.”

By stabilizing the communication quality between vehicles and vehicle communications device centre further, it will be possible to provide more convenient connected services to customers, such as clearer calls between customers and operators and faster connection speeds,” the statement continued. “At the same time, it will be possible to reduce the development burdens of each participating company and simplify system operation and version upgrades that include additional new functions, thereby optimizing resources such as facilities and personnel.”

Collison avoidance systems tops fleet popularity list

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