Older drivers may soon be traveling a safer road thanks to smarter cars that can detect oncoming traffic, steer clear of trouble and even hit the brakes when a collision appears imminent.
A few of these innovations, such as blind-spot warning systems, are already built in or offered as optional features in some vehicles, primarily in more expensive models.
But more revolutionary breakthroughs are expected in the next few years, when measures such as robotic braking systems are supposed to become standard features in all cars on U.S. roads.
"Anything that reduces the likelihood or severity of a collision is really a technology that is primed for helping tomorrow's older adults," says Bryan Reimer, research scientist for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's AgeLab and associate director of the New England University Transportation Center. "We are moving toward an ecosystem where older adults will increasingly be supported by the technology that may help enhance their mobility."
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