Self-driving cars are becoming nearer to being introduced into the mainstream. With experts claiming they’ll make our roads safer, these impressive, futuristic cars are set to revolutionise the way in which we drive. The question is, will self-driving technology also be implemented into disability friendly vehicles?
Could self-driving cars aid the disabled?
There’s no doubt that self-driving cars could prove invaluable for disabled drivers. Those with visual impairments, mobility issues and mental health issues which currently prevent them from driving, would easily be able to get behind the wheel of a self-driving vehicle. This in turn would reduce the pressures currently placed onto non-profit and government agencies.
Self-driving cars could promote independent living, allowing those with disabilities to get out and about without fear and without relying upon somebody else.
Further improvements are needed
Although self-driving cars could prove invaluable for disabled drivers, further improvements are going to be needed. Current technology isn’t enough to ensure the disabled can get around safely in autonomous vehicles.
So, improvements will need to be made such as the implementation of artificial intelligence and machine learning. These will enable the vehicles to understand and respond to spoken instructions, as well as communicate with people and assess nearby surroundings.
The underlying technologies to promote these features do actually exist. So, it won’t actually require too much effort to adjust them to be used in self-driving cars.
The laws will also need to be changed as right now drivers behind the wheel of a self-driving car are required to be qualified to take full control of the vehicle if required.
Another improvement which will need to be made, is to ensure the cars are affordable. Although self-driving vehicles are almost ready to be introduced properly onto the roads, they are going to prove a little too expensive for the average driver.
So, unless government funding becomes available for disabled drivers, they may not be able to get their hands on a self-driving vehicle for some time after their release.
The benefits self-driving cars could deliver
The benefits self-driving cars could deliver for disabled drivers are huge. Those who cannot currently drive due to vision impairments for example, would be able to get behind the wheel of a self-driving vehicle. This means more disabled people will be able to enjoy the benefits of driving.
As it stands, there are some excellent disabled-friendly vehicles on the market. Companies such as Allied Fleet, customise vehicles to suit the needs of numerous disabilities. Each vehicle is fully tailored to the needs of the organisation or individual.
Overall, self-driving cars are an exciting development for those living with disabilities. However, there is still a long way to go before they can be used to aid the independence of disabled drivers.