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Self-driving Cars Can be a Potential Game-changer for Older Adults: Researchers

It was also found that older drivers tended to exhibit worse takeover quality in terms of operating the steering wheel, the accelerator and the brake, increasing the risk of an accident, Li added

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Google's self-driving car. Flickr

Self-driving cars can be a potential game-changer for older adults aged above 60 and can help in minimizing the risk of accidents, say, researchers.

“There are several levels of automation, ranging from zero where the driver has complete control, through to level five where the car is in charge… this will allow the driver to be completely disengaged, they can sit back and watch a film, eat, even talk on the phone,” said Shuo Li from the Newcastle University in the UK.

“But, unlike level four or five, there are still some situations where the car would ask the driver to take back control and at that point, they need to be back in driving mode within a few seconds,” Li said.

For the study published in the journal Transportation Research, the researchers examined 76 volunteers, divided into two age groups (20-35 and 60-81), and studied the time it takes for older drivers to take back control of an automated car in different scenarios and also the quality of their driving in these different situations.

They experienced automated driving for a short period and were then asked to take back control of a highly automated car and avoid a stationary vehicle.

Uber, bengaluru
Toyota Motor Corp. recently invested $500 million in working with Uber on self-driving technology for the ride-hailing service.

It was found that in clear conditions, the quality of driving was good but the reaction time of older volunteers was significantly slower than the younger drivers. It took older drivers about 8.3 seconds to negotiate obstacles compared to around 7 seconds for the younger age group.

“At 60mph, that means older drivers would have needed an extra 35m warning distance – that’s equivalent to the length of 10 cars,” said Li.

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It was also found that older drivers tended to exhibit worse takeover quality in terms of operating the steering wheel, the accelerator and the brake, increasing the risk of an accident, Li added.

The researchers concluded that fully automated cars which are unlikely to require a license and could negotiate bad weather and unfamiliar cities under all situations without input from the driver can be a potential game-changer for older adults and help in avoiding accidents. (IANS)

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Here’s How You Can Enjoy Gaming in Autonomous Vehicles

Self-driving cars have many intelligent technologies that help to keep them safe, and the researchers envision that in the future

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Autonomous Vehicles
The VR driving simulator is designed as a framework to enable rapid prototyping of in-car Autonomous Vehicles game that leverage future technologies like V2V, full window HUDs, head tracking, and different input methods. Pixabay

Researchers have designed multiplayer games where occupants of Autonomous Vehicles can play with other players in self-driving cars within near distance.

The study, led by researchers from the University of Waterloo in Canada, details three games created for level three and higher semi-autonomous vehicles.

The researchers also made suggestions for many exciting types of in-car games for future exploration.

Level three and higher semi-autonomous vehicles are those that have, at minimum, environmental detection capabilities and can make informed decisions for themselves.

“As autonomous vehicles start to replace conventional vehicles, occupants will have much more free time than they used to,” said study researcher Matthew Lakier.

“You will be able to play games with other people in autonomous vehicles nearby when the car is driving itself. The games will be imposed on top of the actual world, so drivers won’t have to take their eyes off the road, ” Lakier added.

Self-driving cars have many intelligent technologies that help to keep them safe, and the researchers envision that in the future, vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication and heads-up displays (HUDs) will also become standard features.

V2V enables cars to let each other know where they are relative to each other on the road, and HUDs on the windshield keep drivers aware of the car’s speed and road conditions.

In developing the three games, the researchers first undertook an extensive literature review to identify gaps in previous research done about autonomous vehicles and found that not much attention has been given to cross-car games.

They then developed a virtual reality (VR) driving simulator to render the car cabin, outside environment, and roadway with artificially controlled cars and intelligent computer-controlled players.

Autonomous Vehicles
Researchers have designed multiplayer games where occupants of Autonomous Vehicles can play with other players in self-driving cars within near distance. Pixabay

The VR driving simulator is designed as a framework to enable rapid prototyping of in-car games that leverage future technologies like V2V, full window HUDs, head tracking, and different input methods.

Twelve participants evaluated the three cross-car games.

They played the games, with occasional take-over tasks, completed the Player Experience Inventory questionnaire to measure player experience, and answered questions in a semi-structured interview.

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“Overall, the participants rated the games highly in immersion, there was a positive response to the incorporation of HUDs in the games, and the different game styles did not significantly impact the take-over task completion time. All games were popular for different reasons,” said Lakier.

The study was presented at the Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play. (IANS)