MIT AgeLab research on driver preferences toward autonomous vehicle technologies has been featured in a Globe and Mail article about the potential of self-driving cars to improve mobility for seniors. AgeLab researcher Hillary Abraham is also quoted in the article:
"At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s AgeLab, researchers are diving into an other early area of research on seniors and driving technology alternatives: whether they trust it. In a study presented in January to the U.S. Transportation Research Board – based on a survey of nearly 3,000 driving Americans – AgeLab researchers found relatively low interest in self-driving cars across all ages, but that drivers 45 years and older are “less comfortable with partial or full autonomy” than younger drivers.
Just 13 per cent of drivers aged 75-plus were comfortable with full automation in a vehicle, versus 40 per cent of 25- to 34-year-olds, the most willing age cohort.
“It’s partially wealth of experience – trusting yourself, and knowing you’re a good driver, and not wanting to give up that control to an unknown variable,” says Hillary Abraham, the study’s lead author.
“Trust” is a word that comes up a lot in the early research. “It takes a long time to build and is very easy to erode,” Ms. Abraham says. Figuring out how to educate consumers, particularly older ones, will be a crucial step in encouraging drivers to accept greater levels of vehicle automation. “If we’re not educating older adults, it’s unrealistic to expect they’ll end up using it,” Ms. Abraham says."
Read the full story here.