July 22, 2020
UN Regulation on Automated Lane Keeping Systems is milestone for safe introduction of automated vehicles in traffic
60 countries have reached a milestone in mobility with
the adoption of a United Nations Regulation that will allow for the safe
introduction of automated vehicles in certain traffic environments.
The UN Regulation establishes strict requirements for
Automated Lane Keeping Systems (ALKS) for passenger cars which, once activated,
are in primary control of the vehicle. However, the driver can override such
systems and can be requested by the system to intervene, at any moment.
Adopted by UNECE’s
World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations, this is the first binding
international regulation on so-called “Level 3” vehicle automation.
The new Regulation therefore marks an important step towards the wider
deployment of automated vehicles to help realize a vision of safer, more
sustainable mobility for all. It will enter into force in January 2021.
ALKS can be activated under certain conditions on roads
where pedestrians and cyclists are prohibited and which, by design, are
equipped with a physical separation that divides the traffic moving in opposite
directions. In its current form, the Regulation limits the operational speed of
ALKS systems to a maximum of 60 km/h.
The government of Japan – which co-led the drafting of
the Regulation with Germany – will apply the Regulation upon entry into force.
The European Commission, which also contributed to its development alongside,
amongst others, France, the Netherlands and Canada, has announced that the
Regulation will apply in the European Union following its entry into force.
The drafting of the
Regulation was guided by UNECE’s framework on automated/autonomous vehicles, which places safety at the core of the UN’s leading
regulatory work in this strategic area for the future of mobility. The
Regulation is thus an important step towards harnessing such advanced
technologies to reduce crashes as part of a holistic, safe system approach to
The Regulation requires that on-board displays used by
the driver for activities other than driving when the ALKS is activated shall
be automatically suspended as soon as the system issues a transition demand,
for instance in advance of the end of an authorized road section. The
Regulation also lays down requirements on how the driving task shall be safely
handed back from the ALKS to the driver, including the capability for the
vehicle to come to a stop in case the driver does not reply appropriately.
The Regulation defines safety requirements
- Emergency Manoeuvres, in case of an
- Transition Demand, when the System asks
the driver to take back control;
- Minimum Risk Manoeuvres - when the driver
does not respond to a transition demand, in all situations the system shall
minimise risks to safety of the vehicle occupants and other road users.
The Regulation includes the obligation for car
manufacturers to introduce Driver Availability Recognition Systems. These
systems control both the driver’s presence (on the driver’s seats with seat
belt fastened) and the driver’s availability to take back control (see details
It also introduces the obligation to equip the vehicle
with a “black box”, so called Data Storage System for Automated Driving
(DSSAD), which will record when ALKS is activated (see details below).
The Regulation sets out clear performance-based
requirements that must be met by car manufacturers before ALKS-equipped
vehicles can be sold within countries mandating the Regulation. A number of
major automotive manufacturers are expected to apply the Regulation upon entry
into force. The Regulation includes provisions governing type approval,
technical requirements, audit and reporting, and testing.
ALKS functionalities will also have to be compliant with
the cybersecurity and software update requirements laid out in the two new UN
Regulations adopted on the same day.
The regulation text is available at: https://undocs.org/ECE/TRANS/WP.29/2020/81