Home Will elderly and disabled gain most from autonomous cars?

Will elderly and disabled gain most from autonomous cars?

The future of autonomous vehicles might give millions of elderly and disabled citizens a chance at driving, but new draft regulations released in December by the state of California point to a long battle for fully driverless cars on the road.

Google’s director of the self-driving project, Chris Urmson, said he was disappointed in the draft regulations, which state that the driver must be able to control the car at all times. This is similar to the current laws on autonomous vehicles, which Tesla have already implemented.

See Also: For self-driving future, fire the crash test dummies

Google will still be able to test its vehicles on driverless mode, but a driver is still required to sit in the vehicle. That is a low blow for the company, which might have been hoping for a bit of leeway this year as it prepares to commercialize its self-driving project.

Several organized groups called for a relaxation in the laws and a way for disabled people to control autonomous cars. “If there’s an autonomous car, there needs to be a means by which a blind person can operate that car as well,” said Parnell Diggs, board member of the National Federation of the Blind to Medill.

“It would behoove the auto industry to certainly keep the elderly and the disabled in mind, as a growing proportion of the American population are aging baby boomers,” said Kenneth Jon, researcher at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.

Autonomous cars can take down obstacles

Autonomous cars remove a lot of the issues some elderly people have in cars, like short sight and slow reactions. All of these improvements are for nought however, if regulations maintain that a driver needs to be inside the car and able to take command at all times.

Full autonomy might not come until 2020, according to Baidu, the Chinese company that is currently working on self-driving cars in Silicon Valley. Others, like Tesla, General Motors, and the PSA Group have similar predictions on when the market will be ready for driverless cars.

Until then, it looks like we’re stuck with highway self-driving and self-parking features coming to more cars.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.