Scientia Professor Kaarin Anstey, Director of the UNSW Ageing Futures Institute and a team of researchers and industry colleagues have been awarded an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Grant of $682,000 over three years to investigate how cognitive changes can impact older drivers' use of assistive technology in vehicles.
The project aims to enhance our understanding of whether cognitive changes associated with ageing impacts older drivers' use of emerging vehicle automation and assistive technologies. The findings will inform older drivers, government policy makers and industry and assist in enhancing road safety.
The team will conduct an analysis of insurance claims databases, a large consumer survey and a naturalistic driving study to gather evidence on how ageing and cognition interact with assistive technology in cars.
The project brings together a diverse, interdisciplinary research team that includes Professor Michael Regan from UNSW Faculty of Engineering and the Research Centre for Integrated Transport Innovation; Dr Kim Kiely, a specialist in sensory loss and cognitive decline in ageing from UNSW School of Psychology and Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA); Professor Mari Velonaki, Director of the Creative Robotics Lab in the UNSW Faculty of Art & Design and Lead Investigator of the USNW Ageing Futures Institute; and Associate Professor Lesley Ross of Penn State University, USA, a specialist in older drivers and cognitive health.
They will work with their industry and community colleagues, Mr Stephen Cratchley, Advanced Technology and Future Mobility Lead at Suncorp and Professor John McCallum, CEO of National Seniors Australia.
Professor Kaarin Anstey said, “This study aims to enhance safety for older drivers by promoting optimal driving in cars with new technology. However, driving is also crucial for independence and social connection for many older people, so we hope that our research will also provide benefits for the wellbeing of older adults by keeping them mobile for longer.”
Pictured: Key aspects in the ARC Linkage Driving Project