Thursday, October 16, 2008

Car Makers Tap Technology To Design Cars For Elder Drivers

Designing for older users ...

"As America's workforce ages and the baby boomers retire in the next few years, carmakers are expecting some excess cash in the hands of retirees which could be used to purchase a new vehicle.

To anticipate the needs of their future owners, Nissan Motor is designing models that would cater to the requirements of older drivers. An aging suit is one of the devices the company uses to help its designers feel the need of the senior market.

The aging suit simulates what it feels to drive with arthritic limbs, shaky balance, large midsection and poor vision. A goggle distorts color and provides the wearer an idea what people with cataracts could see or not see.

The need to provide extra features for elderly drivers is because drivers 65 years old and above have 16 percent higher chances of being involved in a vehicular accident than those between 25 to 64, according to data from the 2007 report of the Rand Institute for Civil Justice.

Ford Motor is also using a Third Age gear to simulate aging and a virtual reality laboratory to try car ergonomics and test clearness of driver's vision. General Motors is designing a high-tech windshield which aims to enhance the view of the one behind the wheels.

Aside from vehicles with senior-friendly features, Nissan is set to introduce in 2009 the Denki Cube Concept in the U.S. and Canada. It features a square-shaped automobile powered by a lithium-ion battery. The prototype was displayed in March by Nissan at the Jacob Javits Convention Center."    (Continued via AHN)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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