AgeLab researchers Bruce Mehler and Bryan Reimer are contributors to a UK Law Commission Consultation Paper on devising a new regulatory framework for autonomous vehicles.
Mehler takes note of how autonomous vehicles might be utilized for older adults and people with disabilities, specifically in addressing the “last fifty feet” problem of motility from the vehicle to the user’s destination. Mehler observes the possibility of the role of a human assistant who accompanies the user to his or her destination and provides assistance unrelated to driving the vehicle—“they may be lower-skilled but otherwise potentially very key” to allowing people with disabilities to take trips outside the home by themselves. Mehler’s contribution to the consultation is part of the AgeLab’s work in imagining how our technological future will serve the needs and improve the lives of older adults.
Bryan Reimer contributed to the report by discussing the optimal timing for beginning the institution of automated vehicles onto public roadways. “Robots may introduce significant improvements in some scenarios, while failing to be quite as good as humans in others. If regulators disallow automated driving until robots are as good as the best human drivers in every situation, society might be deprived of the overall safety benefits for many years.”
View the consultation paper here.