Published on April 4th, 2017 | by Cynthia Shahan0
Connected & Autonomous Vehicles To Improve Quality Of Life For 6 In 10 People With Limited Mobility In UK, Study Finds
April 4th, 2017 by Cynthia Shahan
The transition to connected autonomous vehicles is nearly here, offering more transit options, increased mobility, superior energy efficiency, and increased safety. With more attention to vehicles that can move themselves on our behalf, modern options in transit will serve those who previously had no or little mobility — perhaps did not drive and couldn’t practically use conventional mass transit.
Inclusion of those with disabilities is always a compassionate undertaking. Modern technology continues to offer better integration into society for those previously rather limited. The first comprehensive UK-based study of the human impact of CAVs, from The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) in the UK, shares some numbers: Connected and autonomous vehicles will improve quality of life for 6 in 10 people with limited mobility.
“The UK-based study of the human impact of CAVs, CAVs: Revolutionising Mobility in Society, canvassed the views of more than 3,600 respondents and found that this new technology will offer freedom to some of society’s most disadvantaged, including those with disabilities, older people, and the young. The research, conducted with Strategy&, PwC’s strategy consulting arm, shows CAVs have the potential to reduce social exclusion significantly.”
The report notes that young people could get even more benefit, which is logical considering how mobility-limited they are in increasingly dispersed cities. “For young people, the impact could be even greater, with 71% of those aged 17 to 24 believing their lives would be improved.”
Interestingly, only about half of the population feels positive about connected autonomous vehicles at this point. However, young people are the most prepped for this future. 71% said that CAVs would increase their freedom and improve their lives, and 69% said they feel positive about them — versus 56% of all respondents. “Consumers are increasingly seeing the benefits of CAVs. … Young people were most excited, with almost half (49%) saying they would get into a CAV today if one were available.” The percentage for people with disability wasn’t much different on that last question, though — 45%.
The ability to pursue more hobbies (49% of respondents), go to restaurants more (46%), and have better access to healthcare (39%) were enticing benefits seen by people with mobility-related disabilities.
“Automatic braking and parking and the car’s ability to self-diagnose faults were cited as features most likely to reduce stress – the biggest attraction of owning a CAV among all groups.” A considerable 88% of respondents, meanwhile, “believe CAVs will improve their social life [and] get out of the house more regularly.”
Better access to education and employment are other major improvements many of these people could see. “In fact, Strategy& calculates that CAVs have the potential to give one million more people access to further education, enabling them to increase their earning potential by an estimated average of £8,509 per year.”
When you think of large groups of people with mobility challenges, you can’t help but think of the elderly: “almost a third having problems walking or using a bus, and many unable to drive due to ill-health, poor eyesight or prohibitive insurance, making a strong case for self-driving cars. 47% of survey respondents said a CAV would make it easier for them to fulfill basic day-to-day tasks such as grocery shopping, while 45% looked forward to pursuing more cultural activities such as visiting museums or going to concerts or football matches.”
Going on, the SMMT press release writes: “Although fully connected and autonomous vehicles aren’t expected to become mainstream until 2030, most new cars are now connected via sat nav or Bluetooth, and more than half are available with safety systems such as collision warning or autonomous emergency braking. The UK is also fast establishing itself as a centre of excellence for this exciting new technology, with billions of pounds of investment already delivering public trials of autonomous driving and testing of prototype vehicles by car makers on UK roads.”
You can check out the full PDF here.
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