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Study Shows 70% of Older Drivers Embrace Self-Driving Vehicles

NCOA SelfDrivingSurvey400x275

 July 26, 2021

Approximately 70% of older drivers have said they have trust in self-driving and ride-hailing (SDRH) services, in a new survey released by the National Council on Aging and Volkswagen Group of America. Those respondents said they feel confident that these services could enhance their safety, and believe that they could help achieve tasks outside the home and do the things they want in life.

“Technology will play a key role in addressing challenges faced by older adults who are no longer able to drive,” said Kathleen Cameron, senior director of the National Council on Aging (NCOA). “The five most important aspects of SDRH services for older adults are safety, quality of service, convenience, traffic, and overall comfort of riding in the vehicle.”

In addition, 75% of respondents said they expect to use SDHR technologies in the future, and 71% agreed it would help them maintain their independence. Approximately 2,500 people over age 55 responded to the online survey, with the average age of respondents being 60 years old (64% were male). Most respondents were white (75%), while 15% were black or African American. Most respondents (88%) lived in metro areas, while 8% lived in suburban areas and 4% lived in rural areas.

The groups said older adults often outlive their decision to stop driving by about 10 years for women, and about 7 years for men. The decision to stop driving is usually due to declining vision, physical, and cognitive abilities, or the use of medications that impair driving. Non-driving older adults need alternative transportation to go to doctor’s appointments, shopping, or engage in activities that keep them socially connected. Caregivers most often provide this transportation beyond public transportation, taxis, or ride-hailing services.

The NCOA said technology can play an important role in addressing these challenges, with in-car technologies such as advanced driver assistance and eventually self-driving capabilities.

Other results from the survey included:

  • 64% of respondents said learning to use SDRH would be easy for them, and 68% said they would find it easy to get SDRH services to do what they wanted it to, such as setting a location.
  • 67% said most people would want them to use SDR, and 70% said most people their age should use SDRH services.
  • Least important aspects of SDRH were whether the vehicle had a luxurious interior, the style of the vehicle, time of trips, companionship features, and accessibility options.
  • The top concerns around SDRH were safety, privacy and data issues, and convenience.

More information and additional results of the survey can be found here.

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