Stop Saying Driverless Cars Will Help Old People

Instead of inviting older people to the design table or including them in studies and conversations about things like driverless cars, technologists make assumptions about what those people want and need. This year, Li and his team found that older drivers, for example, want more information about how a driverless car system works, even while they’re in it. The participants in the study said things like, “I need the car to tell me what it is doing if I am not watching it, just basic information would do, like speed, journey time;” and, “I want to know that the vehicle knows, and I would like some kind of display that let[s] me know the vehicle knows it is very foggy.” Collecting more feedback like this would lead to better designs for cars, pill boxes, and apps. It would also help technologists understand just how useful a new product category might really be.