Are Self-Driving Cars The Answer To Seniors’ Mobility Challenges?

“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” – Stephen Hawking

WILL SENIORS LEAD THE SELF-DRIVING REVOLUTION? Seniors Lead the Self-Driving Revolution? 

Older Drivers Could be the First to Embrace Self-Driving Cars

Autonomous cars have not been an easy sell and not everyone is onboard with the idea. A lot of people are hestitant to hop into a driverless car and they are most likely many years away from becoming the norm.

However, seniors might just become the early adopters of the emerging autonomous vehicles. These vehicles could be the answer to aging drivers’ diminished capacity to drive safely behind the wheel and the lack of transportation alternatives out there.

Many seniors rely on friends and family to drive them where they need to be – from medical appointments to grocery shopping or a visit to the local library. There are Uber and Lyft but these services are not available everywhere.

This puts seniors, in particular those wanting to age in place, in an ideal position to experiment with something new that could ultimately make their lives easier and give them more autonomy. 

The spectrum of vehicles that will eventually be introduced into the market will provide options to older drivers so they can consider the type that suits them best.

There will also be different levels of autonomy to choose from to meet the varying needs of seniors.

The Numbers & Geography 

  • A 2014 report from the U.S. Census Bureau projected the number of people age 65+ to grow to close to 84 million by 2050, up from about 43 million in 2012.
  • Around 20% of baby boomers run the risk of being left without any family to transport them wherever it is that they need to go.
  • By 2050, surviving baby boomers will be over the age of 85.
  • Many experts estimate 2030 to 2050 as the years when fully autonomous vehicles will reach consumers.
  • According to the New York Times roughly 70 percent of adults over the age of 50 live in the suburbs, and 16 million age 65 or older live in communities basically with no public transportation.
All of these factors could make seniors a prime target for driverless cars.

With that said, there’s still no knowing how or if this group will embrace self-driving cars. It will surely a shift in mindset but could present a compelling alternative to being homebound.

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