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Stop Saying Driverless Cars Will Help Old People

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hand of elderly person on car door handle

Have you heard the good news? Self-driving cars will solve all our problems. If you believe the headlines, autonomous vehicles will reduce traffic congestion, improve commutes, save lives, and even solve "the loneliness epidemic."

Proponents of the technology often add another item to that list: these miracle automobiles will increase autonomy for older people. "When automakers talk about autonomous cars as a boon to the elderly, they're not only talking about today's seniors," a Digital Trends piece from 2017 explained. "They're talking about you, sooner or later."

This all could happen, eventually, once driverless cars have reached their full potential. In the meantime, though, the opposite is true. Recent research suggests that driverless cars may do more harm than good for seniors in the phases leading up to completely autonomous vehicles. The fact that so many have suggested otherwise illustrates the ways technologists include older people in their work. Which is to say, they don't include them at all.

From Wired
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