The emergence of driver assistance and autonomous vehicle technologies have been proposed as potential solutions to mitigate older driver crash risk and to address mobility limitations. However, the needs of older adults present challenges to the design, implementation, and use of these technologies. The full impact of these technologies will not be known until they become more readily available.
Research on the impacts of driver assistance technology on older drivers is limited. Eby et al. (2018) found that 70% of participants in the LongROAD project felt that the use of in-vehicle technology made them safer drivers. A scoping review conducted by Classen et al. (2019) found that research supports some demonstrated safety benefits of intuitive in-vehicle information systems (IVIS) and ADAS for older drivers. However, research also found that IVIS systems can negatively affect driving safety, particularly when the number of systems in use increases (Classen et al., 2019).
Research on self-driving technology is largely theoretical, as these vehicles are not yet available to the general public. Robertson et al. (2019) found that perceived safety benefits were associated with perceived ease of use for limited self-driving vehicles, underscoring the importance of intuitive and easy to use vehicle technologies. While increased mobility is often theorized as a benefit of autonomous vehicles for older adults, questions remain about the ability of older drivers to take over driving when needed (Knoefel et al., 2019). Even for drivers who are capable of retaking control, older drivers may require more advanced warning or a higher intensity of warning than younger drivers (Sall et at., 2018). Finally, autonomous vehicles may prove to be too expensive for many older adults. Rahman et al. (2020) found that most of their survey respondents reported that the potential additional cost of purchasing a self-driving vehicle would not be affordable.