Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Keeping older drivers on the road

23.04.2012
A research car which monitors our concentration, stress levels and driving habits while we're sat behind the steering wheel is being used to develop new technologies to support older drivers.
The Intelligent Transport team at Newcastle University, UK, have converted an electric car into a mobile laboratory.

Dubbed 'DriveLAB', the car is kitted out with tracking systems, eye trackers and bio-monitors in an effort to understand the challenges faced by older drivers and to identify where the key stress points are.

Research shows that giving up driving is one of the key factors responsible for a fall in health and well-being among older people, leading to them becoming more isolated and inactive.

Led by Professor Phil Blythe, the Newcastle team are investigating in-vehicle technologies for older drivers which they hope could help them to continue driving into later life.

These include bespoke navigation tools, night vision systems and intelligent speed adaptations.

Phil Blythe, Professor of Intelligent Transport Systems at Newcastle University, explains: "For many older people, particularly those living alone or in rural areas, driving is essential for maintaining their independence, giving them the freedom to get out and about without having to rely on others.

"But we all have to accept that as we get older our reactions slow down and this often results in people avoiding any potentially challenging driving conditions and losing confidence in their driving skills. The result is that people stop driving before they really need to.

"What we are doing is to look at ways of keeping people driving safely for longer, which in turn boosts independence and keeps us socially connected."

Funded by Research Councils UK's Digital Economy programme the research is part of the Social inclusion through the Digital Economy (SiDE) project, a £12m research hub led by Newcastle University.

Using the new DriveLAB as well as the University's driving simulator, the team have been working with older people from across the North East and Scotland to understand their driving habits and fears and look at ways of overcoming them.

By incorporating the eye tracker and bio-monitor with the driving simulator the team are able to monitor eye movement, speed, reaction, lane position, acceleration, braking and driving efficiency.

Dr Amy Guo, the leading researcher on the older driver study, explains: "The DriveLAB is helping us to understand what the key stress triggers and difficulties are for older drivers and how we might use technology to address these problems.

"For example, most of us would expect older drivers always go slower than everyone else but surprisingly, we found that in 30mph zones they struggled to keep at a constant speed and so were more likely to break the speed limit and be at risk of getting fined.

"We're looking at the benefits of systems which control your speed as a way of preventing that."

Another solution is a tailored SatNav which identifies the safest route – such as avoiding right turns and dual carriageways - and uses pictures as turning cues, such as a post box or public house.

Researcher Chris Emmerson, explains: "One thing that came out of the focus groups was that while the older generation is often keen to try new technologies it's their lack of experience with, and confidence in, digital technologies which puts them off. Also, they felt most were designed with younger people in mind."

The work is being presented at the Aging, Mobility and Quality of Life conference in Michigan in June.

The driving simulator is also being used to look at how distractions such as answering a mobile phone, sending a text or eating can affect our driving.

Phil Blythe | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ncl.ac.uk

More articles from Automotive Engineering:

nachricht The cold-start dilemma
27.02.2020 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

nachricht Three Autonomous Mini Buses for Karlsruhe
14.05.2019 | FZI Forschungszentrum Informatik

All articles from Automotive Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Biotechnology: Triggered by light, a novel way to switch on an enzyme

In living cells, enzymes drive biochemical metabolic processes enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very ability which allows them to be used as catalysts in biotechnology, for example to create chemical products such as pharmaceutics. Researchers now identified an enzyme that, when illuminated with blue light, becomes catalytically active and initiates a reaction that was previously unknown in enzymatics. The study was published in "Nature Communications".

Enzymes: they are the central drivers for biochemical metabolic processes in every living cell, enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very...

Im Focus: New double-contrast technique picks up small tumors on MRI

Early detection of tumors is extremely important in treating cancer. A new technique developed by researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from normal tissue. The work is published May 25 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from...

Im Focus: I-call - When microimplants communicate with each other / Innovation driver digitization - "Smart Health“

Microelectronics as a key technology enables numerous innovations in the field of intelligent medical technology. The Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT coordinates the BMBF cooperative project "I-call" realizing the first electronic system for ultrasound-based, safe and interference-resistant data transmission between implants in the human body.

When microelectronic systems are used for medical applications, they have to meet high requirements in terms of biocompatibility, reliability, energy...

Im Focus: When predictions of theoretical chemists become reality

Thomas Heine, Professor of Theoretical Chemistry at TU Dresden, together with his team, first predicted a topological 2D polymer in 2019. Only one year later, an international team led by Italian researchers was able to synthesize these materials and experimentally prove their topological properties. For the renowned journal Nature Materials, this was the occasion to invite Thomas Heine to a News and Views article, which was published this week. Under the title "Making 2D Topological Polymers a reality" Prof. Heine describes how his theory became a reality.

Ultrathin materials are extremely interesting as building blocks for next generation nano electronic devices, as it is much easier to make circuits and other...

Im Focus: Rolling into the deep

Scientists took a leukocyte as the blueprint and developed a microrobot that has the size, shape and moving capabilities of a white blood cell. Simulating a blood vessel in a laboratory setting, they succeeded in magnetically navigating the ball-shaped microroller through this dynamic and dense environment. The drug-delivery vehicle withstood the simulated blood flow, pushing the developments in targeted drug delivery a step further: inside the body, there is no better access route to all tissues and organs than the circulatory system. A robot that could actually travel through this finely woven web would revolutionize the minimally-invasive treatment of illnesses.

A team of scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS) in Stuttgart invented a tiny microrobot that resembles a white blood cell...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020: Same Time, Virtual Format, Registration Opened

19.05.2020 | Event News

Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium AWK'21 will take place on June 10 and 11, 2021

07.04.2020 | Event News

International Coral Reef Symposium in Bremen Postponed by a Year

06.04.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Black nitrogen: Bayreuth researchers discover new high-pressure material and solve a puzzle of the periodic table

29.05.2020 | Materials Sciences

Argonne researchers create active material out of microscopic spinning particles

29.05.2020 | Materials Sciences

Smart windows that self-illuminate on rainy days

29.05.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>