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Research examines robotics help for older drivers

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Emerging vehicle assistive technologies and the experience of older drivers is being investigated as part of a project that could help improve safety.

The three-year project, led by Scientia Professor Kaarin Anstey, brings together expertise across transport innovation, the psychology of ageing and robotics and involves industry partners Suncorp and National Seniors Australia.

Researchers will draw upon an analysis of insurance claims databases, a large consumer survey and a naturalistic driving study to gather evidence on how ageing and cognition interact with assistive technology in cars.

“This study aims to enhance safety for older drivers by promoting optimal driving in cars with new technology,” Professor Anstey said. Keeping older adults mobile for longer also provides wellbeing benefits.

How drivers adapt from their old cars to new vehicles with semi-automation is being examined, while the study will also consider factors such as whether drivers respond better to flashing lights, sound alerts or voiced commands.

The work is supported by the Australian Research Council.