Losing the capacity to drive due to age-related cognitive decline can have a detrimental impact on the daily life functioning of older adults living alone and in remote areas. Semi-autonomous vehicles (SAVs) could have the potential to preserve driving independence of this population with high health needs. This paper explores if SAVs could be used as a cognitive assistive device for older aging drivers with cognitive challenges. We illustrate the impact of age-related changes of cognitive functions on driving capacity. Furthermore, following an overview on the current state of SAVs, we propose a model for connecting cognitive health needs of older drivers to SAVs. The model demonstrates the connections between cognitive changes experienced by aging drivers, their impact on actual driving, car sensors' features, and vehicle automation. Finally, we present challenges that should be considered when using the constantly changing smart vehicle technology, adapting it to aging drivers and vice versa. This paper sheds light on age-related cognitive characteristics that should be considered when developing future SAVs manufacturing policies which may potentially help decrease the impact of cognitive change on older adult drivers.

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Geriatrics (Switzerland)
Department of Systems and Computer Engineering

Knoefel, F, Wallace, B, Goubran, R, Sabra, I. (Iman), & Marshall, S. (Shawn). (2019). Semi-autonomous vehicles as a cognitive assistive device for older adults. Geriatrics (Switzerland), 4(4). doi:10.3390/geriatrics4040063