Car Kicks Bad Drivers to the Curb

June 09, 2008 06:01 AM
by Josh Katz
Researchers at MIT’s AgeLab are developing the $1.5-million “Aware Car,” with built-in technology meant to alert seniors when they should no longer be in the driver’s seat.

30-Second Summary

Unfortunately, the car probably won’t be available at a nearby dealership anytime soon; the vehicle, which will boast cameras, monitors and sensors, is 20 years away.

But 20 years from now, many in the large baby boom generation should be at an age when, for many people, reflexes slow and senses deteriorate to a point that makes driving difficult or even dangerous. Also by that time, one in four drivers will be 65 or older.

“The idea is to build a car that learns the drivers’ habits, then reacts appropriately when the driver alters them,” according to Wired. Younger drivers can benefit from the technology as well. Cameras and infrared sensors will monitor eyes, eyelid movements, breathing and even point out low blood sugar-levels, telling the drivers when its time to get off the road.

A 2005 article from Time magazine
examined the issue of senior drivers, two years after an 87-year-old driver killed 10 people when he barreled through a Santa Monica, Calif., farmer’s market. Following the incident, a number of states launched programs aimed at helping seniors identify when it’s time to hang up the car keys, whether through road tests or counseling.

Elder drivers aside, states are also experimenting with technology to curb drunk driving to enhance safety on the roads. New Mexico obtained great success when it required DWI offenders to use breath-alcohol locks, which prevent people from driving when their blood alcohol level exceeds a certain point.

Headline Link: The ‘Aware Car’

Related Topics: The problem with older drivers; technology for making driving safer

Senior drivers
Breathalyzers and drunk driving

Reference: Automotive news


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