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How Uber's Self Driving Cars Will Help Seniors Live Better

Updated on December 5, 2019
Chriswillman90 profile image

Krzysztof is a tech junkie investigating the latest stories from companies like Apple, Samsung, Google, and Amazon.


The Self-Driving Uber & Lyft for Old People

Senior citizens will eventually have their world transformed when self-driving cars become mainstream.

As CES 2019 has shown, the designs and evolution of these vehicles is becoming more rapid with each passing year. It's so fast that employees of Uber and Lyft are already fearful of losing their jobs because they know that eventually they won't be needed.

However even though not everybody will win it's very clear that a massive percentage of people's lives are going to be changed forever.

So let's explore the possibilities of why senior citizens and the self-driving car are a match made in heaven.

Why an Autonomous Uber Will Change Lives

The idea of companies like Uber is fantastic because it allows for easy travel without consequence.

Or does it?

With today's human Uber drivers, there are psychological and societal issues that may make senior citizens uncomfortable traveling in a stranger's car.

Even if you have the nicest Uber driver in the world, there'll always be an underlying uneasiness to that experience.

If you're comfortable with taxis, then these services shouldn't bother you but understandably there are individuals who may feel unsafe whether it the driver or the driver's motor vehicle skills.

That's where the self-driving car comes in.

Imagine going on the app and appointing a ride at a certain time. The car arrives outside your house but is completely empty. You approach and the door opens signaling you to enter. You enter and the vehicle comfortably escorts you to your destination.

The process will be smooth, simple, comfortable, and you never have to worry about getting judged or feeling unsafe.


How Autonomy Gives Elders Mobility

Our seniors and the elderly are wonderful people who are intelligent, wise, and have much to offer, so why do they have to get scrutinized when it comes to topics like travel.

How many times do we criticize an older person's driving skills and tell them that they shouldn't be on the road because they're going too slow.

  • Senior citizens aren't bad drivers, but for those that need assistance, a self-driving car could help.

With these cars they can go anywhere they want without the added pressures of physically driving.

This means they can take those long trips to visit loved ones or seek out new adventures while resting comfortably as the car does all the navigating/driving for them.

They can enjoy the serenity and view from the window or read a good book, and if they can't read in a moving car, listen and/or watch their favorite content as if they were on a plane.

It's a luxury cruise minus the crazy expenses, and it eliminates the baggage that seniors don't need to deal with anymore.


Senior Citizens in the Year 2050

Studies show that by the year 2050 about 1/3 of citizens in developed countries will be 65 years or older or up from the projected 17 percent in 2020.

Over a third of developed countries will have seniors, and the effects of this are substantial. Innovations in the medical, science, and education industries have to radically be altered to accommodate the growing senior class.

U.S. Senior Population from 2010 to 2050

This puts today's millennials who are growing up with the web, shifting medical engineering, the internet or things, artificial intelligence, social media, and a plethora of other advances in the driver's seat by 2050.

Growing up in the golden age of AI is going to benefit the millennial generation when they become seniors in the 2040's and 2050's where self-driving cars will dominate roadways.

This is important because current polls show most people would feel unsafe and unwilling to lose control in a self-operating vehicle. I understand why that is considering we have a ways to go before the software is superior enough for everyone to feel safe.

However keep in mind that older, traditional generations didn't grow up like millennials and Generation Z have meaning seniors of today can't fathom the concept of self-driving cars like newer generations.

Negative Attitudes About Autonomous Cars

As stated the majority of people who have been surveyed about self-driving cars said they wouldn't feel safe traveling in one.

The most common reasons they wouldn't travel in one are as follows:

  • The fear of not being in control
  • Unknown risk factors
  • Concerns about insurance and who'll be at fault

People tend to be set in their one ways and many wouldn't feel comfortable trusting a self-driving to guide them, but ironically those who have negative attitudes are only boosting existing traffic dangers.

There have already been studies done from Google's own self-driving units that indicate all documented accidents were the fault of the human driver and not the driver-less car.

The other points being missed are that self-driving cars do not drink and drive, they don't get distracted, and they're not driven by dangerous human emotions. Countless articles I've read addressed all of those points, but negative attitudes remained.

This is why self-driving cars aren't going to be popular right off the bat, but once people understand how much the good outweighs the bad, then they'll be happy to ride shotgun.


How AVs Will Lead to Renewed Independence

Feeling like a dependent is a terrible thing.

People want to have others to depend on but they don't want their focus to be on them 24/7, which is often what seniors and the handicapped struggle with.

  • A self-driving car won't make them fully independent but at least it'll give them more control.

It'll give them more options to explore new things without additional support.

AI enabled technology wasn't designed to hurt us; it was meant to help us and the fear of robot overlords has been greatly misconstrued. We should embrace robotics and start-up social robots because they're designed to be friendly and helpful.

This is why technology exists and why the engineers and developers of Silicon Valley and other tech hot spots are continuing to create/design innovative products.

Personally I believe Autonomous vehicles and self-driving cars were designed for the people who need it the most, and what better way to do that than make their lives spectacular.

How Roadway Safety Boosts Quality of Life

Senior citizens of the past dealt with some uncomfortable living conditions, and many continue to do so today but we're trying to change that.

In the end we have to change that because statistics show that the elderly are going to be around for much longer than they used to as the golden years turn into decades.

That's why roadway safety is one of the keys to a higher quality of life.

When you think about all the horrors of traffic, accidental deaths, and other roadway atrocities (drunk driving), then why wouldn't you want more travel safety.

If reports are correct, then in some 25-40 years the amount of roadway deaths will be reduced by over 90 percent from today's numbers. That's a staggering reduction and millions of lives saved from preventable accidents.

Self-Driving Cars Could Reduce Accidents by 90 Percent

When you can drive somewhere safely without worrying about your life even in inclement weather, then the quality of life automatically gets a huge increase. So senior citizens who want to live a full life should embrace self-driving cars because they'll make a difference.

Enter a self-driving car and go anywhere you want for your 100th birthday celebration because you've earned it.

Your Turn!

Are you ready for a self-driving car?

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