Scientists at the North East University have created a vehicle crammed with hi-tech devices that will improve the driving experience for older people. The research sponsored by the Research Councils UK Digital Economy has led to the building of an electric vehicle that the scientists claim is emotionally intelligent. They believe the gadgets in the vehicle will not only help older drivers drive more safely but will also improve their health in general. It is anticipated the vehicle will give them more confidence to drive which will give them an overall improved quality of life. The researchers say the return of confidence in their driving capabilities will lead to them driving longer which in turn will give them a better social life and help them maintain contacts with friends and relatives.
Drivelab, the name of the vehicle, really is bursting at the seams with modern technology, it includes state of the art eye tracking goggles, proximity sensors, and a black box which not only monitors the driving habits of the motorist but also their heart rate, concentration and levels of stress. Of course the vehicle is equipped with a sat-nav but already scientists have realised that older people may benefit from more visual clues rather than directions and are looking at ways to integrate this into the system. They anticipate a GPS system that may have a more “grounded” approach saying for instance: “You should now see the White Hart Public house on your left and a bus shelter on the corner.”
The head of the research noted the UK has now more than 6 million over 70s holding a current driving licence and aids designed to make them safer drivers automatically makes the roads safer for everyone else. Such advanced vehicles would certainly make motorhome insurance companies look at their premiums if such technology was available to motorhome owners. The long distances many people travel in mobile homes has in the past persuaded some older drivers to abandon their vehicles and take a less adventurous holiday approach. Modern motorhomes are already acknowledged as intelligent vehicles and the implementation of the new gadgetry will certainly persuade some older drivers that they are not past it yet.