The UK government is due to close a consultation on Oct. 27 that could lead to some form of automated driving on British highways. That could include the use of Automated Lane Keeping Systems (ALKS) that would allow drivers to take their hands off the wheel and let the vehicle drive itself.
Automakers such as Daimler's Mercedes-Benz and Tesla have been at the forefront of developing sophisticated automated driving features that they insist can be used safely.
But Thatcham Research, which is funded by insurers but operates independently, said current technology may not be able to see debris on the road, avoid pedestrians or recognize when a highway lane is closed.
"There are liability and legal challenges with ALKS, as well as safety challenges about your vehicle not being able to do what an engaged human driver can do," Avery said. "The technology just isn't there yet, regardless of what the manufacturers say."