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Automated Lane Keeping Systems (ALKS): Are They Safe?

By Cheyenne Davis

Cheyenne Davis

Cheyenne Davis - 19 January 2021

In our modern world, drivers and passengers can do much more than just play music, make a call, or start navigation. This includes automated lane-keeping systems (ALKS) and soon, the possibility of legally being able to go hands-free in the next few years — allowing drivers to let their cars take full control of steering inputs on UK motorways at speeds of up to 70mph. 

As technology continues to evolve, how safe is this technology and how can it be monitored?

What is ALKS?

Automated lane-keeping systems (ALKS) have been developed to automatically take control of a vehicle to ensure it stays in the correct lane. According to the Express last year, ALKS will be introduced to new cars sold in the UK from this year.

The Department for Transport has opened up a consultation to allow those in the industry to submit evidence on the safety of the new technology. This initiative will help assess how ALKS will fit into the current road network before looking at whether any existing legislation will need to be changed. 

As we wait for news on changes to legislation and driving laws in the UK, what measures can those in the automotive Industry take to ensure ALKS is safe?

Safety & Testing 

Thatcham Research has found that due to the current status of the technology, automated lane-keeping systems are not yet safe enough to be classified as 'automated.' Instead, they should be classed as 'assisted driving.'

In order to address these performance limitations of these highly complex systems, automotive companies can consider automated testing. Automated testing allows manufacturers to thoroughly test the myriad interactions and conditions that cars using ALKS will face. This includes everything from road conditions and driver input, to interactions with different software and hardware systems. Replicating and testing the literally millions of real-world conditions encountered by cars and drivers necessitates intelligent automation. Therefore, automated testing is critical for automotive companies to have confidence in the safety of ALKS.

Connected Future  

“Only with testing technology, something which is not often talked about, can we pave the road for continued innovation in the automotive sector and realize the promise of a connected future," explains Eggplant COO Antony Edwards. “To truly test the entire autonomous vehicle experience, forward-thinking companies are exploring ways to apply Artificial Intelligence."

As ALKS is rolled out across the UK and beyond, the safety of these systems must be beyond reproach. At Eggplant, we work with mission critical systems from the street to outer space, thanks to our ability to test any technology on any platform.

Automated AI-powered testing works by continuously monitoring and then replicating how real users interact with technology. By seeing activity in real-time, the platform feeds information back into the development process to ensure that your team can release quality software safer and faster.

Automated testing, of course, doesn't just apply to self-driving systems. It is also relevant to testing the in-vehicle systems. We go into more detail in our blog post Reimagine Your In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) Systems with Intelligent Testing

Read the full article on the Express, featuring Eggplant COO Antony Edwards.