Autoliv, Autonomy and Age

One of the aspects of autonomous driving that gets far less attention than it probably should is the impact on the Baby Boomers, as in the fact that they are turning 65 at a rate of about 10,000 per day in the U.S. and will continue to do so until 2030 when they have all passed that milestone.

One of the aspects of autonomous driving that gets far less attention than it probably should is the impact on the Baby Boomers, as in the fact that they are turning 65 at a rate of about 10,000 per day in the U.S. and will continue to do so until 2030 when they have all passed that milestone. Or, more to the point, Baby Boomers are becoming well-seasoned citizens and at some point their driving skills aren’t going to be what they once were, and it would probably be beneficial to them—as well as to all other generations—if there were vehicles that took control.

So it is probably a very good thing that automotive safety system supplier Autoliv has signed a research agreement with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab.

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Agelab

This is for a two-year program during which they will develop artificial intelligence systems that understand and manage the state of the driver.

According to Ola Boström, vp of Research at Autoliv, “Today, 1.4 million people die in traffic fatalities every year. Investments in vehicle automation such as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems [ADAS] will increase road safety, but the introduction of assistance technology is not enough. To save more lives, we need to establish trust between the driver and the car’s intelligence. I am confident that this collaboration with leading researchers will accelerate the industry’s ability to deliver future safety solutions.”

Noted Bryan Reimer of MIT, “It is clear that the global focus on autonomous vehicles must begin to consider increased investment in human centered vehicle system that support appropriate driver engagement through trusted safety and an enjoyable mobility experience.”

The information derived from this program will be used by Zenuity, the software joint venture between Autoliv and Volvo Cars.

While there is plenty of emphasis on sensors and processors that will allow vehicles to have increased autonomy, there should be no less attention on making sure that these vehicles perform so that people actually want to use them.

Especially Boomers, who generally seem to have a sense of exaggerated capability and invincibility.