The standards in the automotive industry will be further expanded. In addition to the UN regulations on Automotive Cyber Security Management Systems and Software Updates, which we explained in our article on UNECE WP.29, there are now strict requirements for the use of Automated Lane Keeping Systems, so-called ALKS for passenger cars.

This Regulation No. 157, adopted by the UNECE’s World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations, is the first binding international regulation for so-called “Level 3 vehicle automation”. The World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29), operated by the UNECE, is the intergovernmental platform that defines the technical requirements to be followed by the automotive industry worldwide.

Safe introduction of automated vehicles

ALKS, once activated, take primary control of the vehicle and control the lateral and longitudinal movement of the vehicle. However, the driver is able to intervene and take back control of the vehicle at any time. The driver can also be requested to intervene by the ALKS system itself.  

The new Regulation 157 is based on the UNECE framework and focuses on the safety of automated and autonomous vehicles. It takes a sophisticated systems approach that contributes to road safety by the use of advanced technologies, including the reduction of accidents. The aim of the regulation is to enable the safe introduction and operation of automated vehicles in different traffic environments. It is intended to contribute to a wider use of automated vehicles.

New requirements for the approval of Automated Lane Keeping Systems

The new regulation in its current form still limits the operating speed of ALKS to 60km/h. Under certain conditions, ALKS can be activated in road traffic, namely when cyclists and pedestrians are not allowed on these roads and oncoming traffic is separated by a physical barrier and thus cannot cross the lane.

The most important in brief

UN Regulation 157 includes administrative provisions for type approval, audit and reporting requirements, technical requirements and provisions for type approval and testing. The application for approval of a vehicle type with regard to the ALKS shall be submitted by the vehicle manufacturer or his authorised representative. 


UN-Regulation 157 and Human-Machine Interfaces

Regulation 157 also includes provisions relating to the Human-Machine Interface (“HMI”) in order to avoid misuse or misunderstanding by the driver. The regulation states, for example, that in the event of an overload message issued by the ALKS, all other displays of the vehicle offered to the driver for activities other than driving the vehicle are automatically suspended. This may be the case, for example, shortly before the end of a road section authorised for ALKS.

The process of handing over the driving task from the ALKS to the driver is also specified in the new regulation. For example, one requirement of this specifies that the vehicle must come to a stop if the driver does not respond to the ALKS handover request in accordance with the requirements. This means that the system must be able to check driver presence and assess driver availability. To this end, the regulations set out clear criteria that an ALKS must fulfil.  

These include regulations and criteria to be met:

  • for the sensor system
  • for the driving mode memory
  • of data elements to be recorded
  • for data availability in compliance with the respective applicable national and regional legal provisions
  • for protection against manipulation
  • for cyber security and software updates    

In summary, the regulation defines safety requirements for:

  • Emergency manoeuvres in the event of an imminent collision
  • Transition demand, i.e. when the system requests the driver to take back control
  • Minimal risk manoeuvres when the driver does not respond to a transition demand (in all situations the system must minimise the risks to the safety of the vehicle occupants and other road users)
  • Mandatory introduction of driver presence detection systems for car manufacturers. These systems check both the presence of the driver (in the driver’s seat with the seat belt fastened) and the availability of the driver to take back control.

Obligation to equip the vehicle with a “black box”, the so-called Data Storage System for Automated Driving (DSSAD), which records when ALKS is activated.

Car manufacturers will therefore have to fulfill clear performance-related requirements from now on before their Automated Lane Keeping System-equipped vehicles can be sold in the countries that stipulate the regulation.

The detailed specifications, activation criteria for an Automated Lane Keeping System and all other requirements of “UN Regulation No. 157 – Automated Lane Keeping Systems (ALKS)” can be viewed on the UNECE website. An internationally agreed German translation is not yet available. 

Recently, one of our start-up partners, Cognata Ltd. from Israel, which develops full product life cycle simulations for developers of ADAS and autonomous vehicles, collaborated with Five, a company that develops autonomous vehicle systems. Together, the two companies are working to provide a modular, cloud-based, end-to-end development and testing platform for automatic lane keeping systems ALKS that complies with the new UNECE Standard 157. 

The market is accelerating and for car manufacturers it shows once again that the convergence of the industries is continuing.