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Will the self-driving car preserve mobility for senior citizens?

Google launching more self-driving cars onto California streets

Google's driverless car may keep senior citizens on the roadMay 18, 2015 – When most people hear or read about the progress of the driverless car they surely conjure up a vision of young people clamoring to get on board. Maybe they should give this a second look and imagine grandpa and grandma in the back seat. The loss of the mobility and independence seniors have enjoyed with being able to drive is one of the most crushing events of aging. Maybe the driverless car will end this misery.

 “When we started designing the world’s first fully self-driving vehicle, our goal was a vehicle that could shoulder the entire burden of driving,” writes Chris Urmson, Director, Google Self-Driving Car Project.

“Vehicles that can take anyone from A to B at the push of a button could transform mobility for millions of people, whether by reducing the 94 percent of accidents caused by human error (PDF), reclaiming the billions of hours wasted in traffic, or bringing everyday destinations and new opportunities within reach of those who might otherwise be excluded by their inability to drive a car.”

Is he talking about senior citizens - "excluded by their inability to drive a car." Sure sounds like it.

In a news posting by Google, he announced their self-driving car is leaving the test track and hitting the streets.

“This summer, a few of the prototype vehicles we’ve created will leave the test track and hit the familiar roads of Mountain View, Calif., with our safety drivers aboard,” he says.

California has been issuing permits for testing self-driving cars sine September of 2014.

These new prototypes use the same software as the self-driving Lexus SUV’s that have logged nearly a million “autonomous” miles on the roads. They have recently been driving about 10,000 miles per week.

Over the 6 years since the start of this project, the Google cars have been involved in 11 minor accidents (light damage, no injuries) during those 1.7 million miles of autonomous and manual driving with safety drivers behind the wheel, and not once was the self-driving car the cause of the accident, according to Google.

The learn more, watch videos and keep up with the Google car, click here to the Google Blog.

Related Features News from Senior Journal Archives

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