The loss of independence once seniors can no longer drive is one of the greatest fears and obstacles facing older adults. But Google’s self driving cars, now being testing in the United States, may be a blessing for seniors who have had to relinquish their driver’s license.
Growing numbers of seniors to continue to live independently and for them, transportation is vital. Especially for those who live in rural or suburban areas where public transportation is not available, getting to the grocery store, the doctor or visiting friends and family can become challenging. Smart cars and self-driving cars could allow more seniors to age in place where they choose without sacrificing mobility.
The hitch may be how receptive seniors are to the new technology; a recent AAA survey found that three out of four drivers in the U.S. said they would be afraid to ride in self-driving cars. Baby boomers were among those with the greatest fear (89 per cent), of riding in autonomous vehicles compared with younger generations. The findings of the survey are available online at http://publicaffairsresources.aaa.biz/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Automotive-Engineering-ADAS-Survey-Fact-Sheet-FINAL-3.pdf .
What older adults might not be aware of is that much of the same technology used in self-driving cars is already in use in today’s vehicles. For example, automated emergency braking has been found to reduce the number of rear-end crashes by up to 40 per cent since it’s implementation. At present about 25 per cent of new vehicles offer automatic braking as an option. Other automated technology including self parking, large animal detection and pedestrian detection is also in the works.
To read more about self-driving and smart cars visit Bloomberg Business at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-03-02/google-thinks-self-driving-cars-will-be-great-for-stranded-seniors.