Experts predict that in a few years, the technology will be good enough that vehicles will not need human assistance to operate. One of the groups that could benefit the most from this is the elderly.
One of the most dreaded conversations for children with elderly parents, is telling their parents that it is time to give up driving. For the elderly, the loss of the ability to drive is symbolic of a loss of self-reliance, since it makes it much more difficult to get around.
Elderly people who have always been able to get in their vehicles and drive themselves anywhere they want, naturally resent not being able to do so. They also often fear that if they call someone to help them, then they are being a burden.
Nevertheless, at some point people do lose the ability to drive safely. Therefore, children must have the conversation with their elderly parents no matter how much everyone involved dreads the prospect.
Soon, however, it may no longer be necessary according to The New York Times in "Self-Driving Cars Could Be Boon for Aged, After Initial Hurdles."
Automakers and technology companies are in a race to develop cars that can drive themselves. These autonomous vehicles would be able to take passengers where they want to go more safely than human drivers, according to advocates.
If the elderly were to use self-driving cars, then they would no longer need to lose their mobility when they are no longer able to drive. Some believe that these vehicles could be available in as little as five years.
There are still legal issues that need to be considered for elder law advocates. Lawmakers currently appear reluctant to allow autonomous vehicles that are not overseen by a human capable of taking control safely.
Reference: The New York Times (March 23, 2017) "Self-Driving Cars Could Be Boon for Aged, After Initial Hurdles."