Bloomberg is currently reporting, “Self-driving cars being planned by Google and global automakers may help counter slumping demand from younger customers by tapping the fastest-growing demographic in the world’s largest vehicle markets: the elderly.” Baby Boomers are all quickly joining the elderly in both the US and abroad in strong markets like Japan, where an ever-increasing number of older drivers are being hurt and killed in auto accidents.
In an industry conference last week GM and Toyota both emphasized as many as 90 percent of traffic accidents caused by human error, therefore a key benefit of the automation technology is boosting safety. Japan, the world’s fastest-aging major economy and the third-largest car market, is leading the accident trend: of the 4,411 people who died on the road in the country last year, more than half, or 2,264, were 65 or older, according to data from the National Police Agency. “Driver-assistance and autonomous-driving technologies will definitely help stimulate demand among the elderly by assuring them driving can be very safe,’’ Zhou Lei, a senior manager and auto-industry consultant at Deloitte Tohmatsu Consulting Co. in Tokyo, said. ‘‘What’s happening in Japan will also occur in the U.S. and especially emerging countries like China, and the demand will be huge.” On Oct. 10 Toyota says it will introduce systems in about two years, which will enable cars to communicate with each other to avoid collisions. General Motors is planning vehicles by 2020 that will be able to drive themselves on controlled-access highways. Nissan is planning to introduce a self-driving vehicle by 2020. Google’s self-driving technology will help the elderly retain their freedom of mobility, said Anthony Levandowski, one of the leaders of the company’s autonomous-car project. “This technology restores the freedom that people can’t see. This system will drive old people to see their grandkids and see doctors.” The Institute for Traffic Accident Research has stated that although eliminating accidents completely may be impossible, traffic deaths may become a thing of the past. “Zero fatalities is definitely a feasible target. I would expect we can realize that around 2035.” How about you? Have you imagined riding in an auto piloted automobile? Is it something you’re looking forward to, or do you have reservations? Chances are you’ll have a chance to make that decision sooner than later.
When you think about it, four pieces of rubber are all that separate your car from the road. Yet, according to recent survey data, alarmingly few Americans have a clue when it comes to maintaining their tires or are equipped to deal with an emergency tire situation. Car Coach Lauren Fix offers some tips on how to properly care for your tires. According to a Michelin survey carried out for National Tire Safety Week: • Only 12% of Americas have had formal “tire education.”
Some states have already made driving while using a cell phone illegal, and it’s highly discouraged in every part of the U.S. But there are many more distractions in the car than just talking on the phone or texting. Fortunately, voice control software has reached the point where many different devices in the car can be controlled by voice commands. However, not everyone can afford these extras, and they’re still fairly expensive. Here are some of the most common things people use their hands for instead of driving and their safer alternatives.