Driving seems to be fun when young but no more once you get old. With the decrease in reaction time, eyesight getting weaker and confidence getting low older people are prone to accidents. To study the obstacle in the driving of senior citizens, Intelligent Transport team in Newcastle University has taken an electric car and has turned it to a mobile laboratory. Dubbed as ‘DriveLAB’, it houses eye-trackers, bio-monitors and other tracking systems. The team aims to develop in-vehicle technologies that assist older people in driving and keeps them on road.
The university has set up an exclusive driving simulator to collect data based on driving patterns of test drivers. Currently, about 20 drivers in their 80s have taken the DriveLAB for a test drive. Technologies such as bespoke navigation tools, night vision systems and intelligent speed adaptations have been embedded to make driving experience more comfortable. The car uses satellite navigation to help identify the landmarks and suggests them to turn right after the next Pizzahut shop or Walmart store. It will also house the collision warning system to assist while changing lanes.
DriveLAB is a part of "social inclusion through the digital economy", a £12m project. For most older people, the social life comes to a halt after they don't find themselves fit for driving. This makes them more isolated and affects their overall health and well being. We hope to see more cars like DriveLAB that take care of the elder and helps to bring them back to the road.
Via: the engineer