Elderly test out driverless cars

St Monica's Trust hosts demonstration for residents
13th June 2019

Residents of a care home in Bristol have been testing out the latest driverless car technology.

The Pod Zero vehicles are part of the £5.5m FLOURISH project that came to an end last month after three years. The residents of the St Monica Trust could try them out to travel around the grounds of the home in Westbury-on-Trym.

“Throughout the last three years, the FLOURISH team has been committed to exploring how innovative new technologies can be used to keep our cities moving and people connected,” said Tracey Poole, FLOURISH Project Manager and Transport Planning specialist at Atkins.

“With the user of the future in mind, we have explored the technology required to realise this vision. This thinking has informed our investigations into the safe operation of a network of driverless vehicles in a connected smart city environment – which is crucial if we are to achieve the full benefits of this technology, for all. It has also been a key driver of our engagement with older adults and those with mobility-related conditions,” she said.

“The benefits of CAVs include enhanced, inclusive and personalised mobility, increased capacity on our road network and improved air quality.”

An inclusive approach to the design of the Human Machine Interface (HMI), the technology with which users will interact with the CAV, has been central to FLOURISH. Throughout the duration of the project, a series of increasingly complex real-world and simulated trial scenarios have assessed what older adults will require to be able to confidently engage with driverless cars. This has culminated in the creation of a Standardised Assessment Framework (SAF), which establishes best practice for assessing the needs of users and linking specific user needs to design preferences.

“If we are to successfully introduce CAVs onto the UK’s roads, then it is essential that we listen to what people want from this technology. The creation of the Standardised Assessment Framework shows that we are doing just that,” said Chris Alford, Associate Professor in Applied Psychology at the University of the West of England (UWE).

The project included Age UK, Aimsun, Airbus Group Innovations, AXA UK, Bristol City Council, Cardiff University, Designability, Dynniq, React AI, South Gloucestershire Council, the Connected Places Catapult, Traverse, University of Bristol and University of the West of England, with support from Burges Salmon and Bristol Robotics Laboratory.

To read the full final report from the FLOURISH project visit flourishmobility.com/publications