The future value and positive impact that autonomous driving will have on our society is yet to be seen. We’ve all heard the hype of autonomous driving – including vehement pros and cons. When you consider the grand scope of driverless cars, it’s easy to get buried in a myriad of legislative and regulatory issues, the dilemma of urban planning and let’s not forget the moral aspect of who (or what) makes critical decisions in a time of crisis. Insurance companies want to know ‘who pays?’
But when considering how autonomous driving will influence society, it’s interesting to consider the needs of each generation and the potential value it would provide for community and to life. One group of our population is rising in priority as a beneficiary of self-driving technology – our seniors.
Revolutionized Transportation for Seniors
The elder segment of our society provides incredible contributions, influence and wisdom as family members, friendships and community support. As our aging population continues to grow, so do new needs for their well-being and desires for continued quality of life. According to a study by the World Health Organization, the number of people aged 80 and older will quadruple in the period 2000 to 2050.
Maintaining independence and continued socialization has a direct and positive impact on the quality of life for seniors. Mobility and social support positively contributes to the psychological and physical well-being of elderly individuals.
Unfortunately, the risk of being injured or killed in a motor vehicle crash increases as you age. Physical changes, declines in vision, cognitive functioning or medication can make driving a real safety concern for seniors.
Would seniors benefit from autonomous driving?
This question was raised in a recent article by Bengt Halvorson “Should Elderly Drivers Be The Autonomous Car Early Adopters?” With Toyota Motor Corporation’s announcement of a $50 million investment in research to reduce road injuries and fatalities, older drivers and those with impairments have been identified as one of the potential first target markets for self-driving technology.
The positive value that autonomous driving holds for our aging population is one we anticipate seeing realized. Driverless cars will provide relief for seniors by removing traffic and navigation frustration, parking concerns, and collision risk. Autonomous driving can help support a dignified, active and better quality of life for seniors. It removes the risk of injury while enabling independent living.
At 3dsMobility, we are devoted to holistically exploring, anticipating and guiding how autonomous driving will impact our society. Please feel free to share your comments and suggest topics for how you believe driverless cars will change our future.