The population of the United States is growing older as life expectancies are extended through healthier living and advancements in medical capabilities. Longer lives result in increasing periods of time in later life where the ability to drive is hindered either due to specific maladies or the general deterioration of physical functions. Because older individuals’ ability to drive is impacted, it effects their mobility and independence, which can have negative implications for their overall well-being. Can autonomous vehicles play a role in enabling greater mobility for the elderly? The purpose of this quantitative research was to study what factors are important to the elderly when considering the viability of autonomous vehicles as a transportation alternative. This study used survey research to produce qualitative data representative of a population of individuals 65 years old and older living and driving in suburban environments. Results showed that of the 32 factors presented, there were 15 factors commonly considered by the participants important to the adoption decision. These common factors primarily dealt with the ability of the human driver to retake control of the autonomous vehicle, advancements in current driver assistance technologies, and operational considerations in specific driving situations. The biggest obstacle to adoption appears to be the level of trust the participants had in the capabilities of autonomous technology to operate safely and consistently. Results show participants expect significant advancements in current driver assistance technologies before they will consider autonomous vehicles safe enough to trust and use on a daily basis. There is a corollary action for developers and manufacturers of autonomous technologies and vehicles to consider these 15 common factors and begin to build bridges of trust with the growing population of the elderly. Perhaps then the elderly will consider using autonomous vehicles as a transport alternative.
|Advisor:||Cellante, Donna L.|
|Commitee:||Draus, Peter J., Wood, David F.|
|School:||Robert Morris University|
|Department:||Information Systems and Communications|
|School Location:||United States -- Pennsylvania|
|Source:||DAI-A 81/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Transportation, Aging, Automotive engineering|
|Keywords:||Adoption, Autonomous vehicles, Autonomy, Elderly, Technology, Trust|
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