MIT AgeLab's research on intelligent vehicle systems (e.g., active safety) and older drivers, done in partnership with the auto and insurance industries and the larger driver safety community is highlighted in the recent issue of Automotive News: Paving the way to self driving vehicles: new features help aging drivers.
The push for autonomous driving offers potential promise for older drivers, but AgeLab director Joe Coughlin notes in the article that there remain significant design challenges to address the important issues of trust and learning. Moreover, technologies to enable the popular vision of robotic vehicles are moving forward with only a nascent policy framework to guide the development, manufacture and eventual operation of autonomous vehicles on the nation's roads.
With some irony, the first drivers to purchase vehicles with these new technologies are older drivers - since they tend to have the discretionary income that buys luxury vehicles where 'what's new' typically shows up on the showroom floor first.
Automotive News details many of the AgeLab's capabilities and research questions at the nexus of new technology and older drivers. AgeLab is working with its Member companies as well as the US Department of Transportation's New England UniversityTransportation Center to better understand how drivers of all ages learn about, purchase and safely use new car technology so as to improve the technology's potential to provide safe mobility across the lifespan.