How Driverless Cars Will Impact Older People

Author: AB Staff

How Driverless Cars Will Impact Older People

Editor's Pick Wellness

Self-driving cars are around the corner. In some places, they’re already here. You’d be surprised to learn that retirement communities and elderly neighborhoods are the majority of those places. Experts in the car industry agree that self-driving cars are going to make a name for themselves in these controlled environments first.

Why is this the case? Especially since a recent AAA survey found that 75% of people are afraid of self-driving cars, the majority of that 75% being older. Unfortunately, there’s a big difference between want ting to ride in a self-driving car and not having much of a choice.

The elderly community faces many challenges that affect their ability to get around autonomously, and self-driving cars seem to be the answer to those problems. Self-driving cars give elderly people the chance to get to doctor’s appointments, the grocery store, or even social events without relying on someone else to take them. However, self-driving cars can help with aging transportation issues like:

  • Geography – Cities have tons of public transportation, but the majority of people living in cities are under the age of 50. Its almost impossible to get around in the suburbs without a car, so self-driving models can make it easier for the elderly to navigate on their own without city public transportation.
  • Sheer Numbers – A 2014 US Census Bureau reported that there will be nearly 84 million people in the USA over the age of 65 by 2050. If all those people need a person to drive them places, younger generations would have to be taxi drivers by sheer necessity. However, self-driving cars will give elderly independence and free younger generations from caregiving commitments.
  • Physical Limitations – The elderly are often not physically able to drive safely. From loss of mobility and vision to hearing decline, there is a host of reasons why the aging population shouldn’t drive. Self-driving eliminates these safety concerns.
  • Elder Orphans – Elder orphans are seniors that don’t have any family or children to help care for them. This can be a major issue for transportation that the self-driving car can solve.
  • Anxieties – Most elders have anxiety or concerns about using modern transportation and ride sharing apps like Lyft or Uber. They worry about riding with strangers or not being able the find the right car. This anxiety isn’t an issue for self-driving cars.

Self-driving cars may be the answer to lots of elder transportation issues, and the self-driving industry agrees. More and more businesses are rolling out new self-driving tech in retirement communities first because of simple supply and demand. Want to see if self-driving cars are coming to your area? Check out businesses like Voyage, a self-driving cab company, or Waymo, a self-driving car leader.  You can also keep an eye on the self-driving car timeline to have a better idea when they’ll be more widely available.

What do you think about self-driving cars? Would they be a help to you and your aging family members? Share your thoughts in the comment section, and keep an eye out for more technology articles to learn more about similar topics.