Volunteers not required; Self-driving has arrived

by convenor on 12/11/2015

Volvo has recently demonstrated its driverless vehicles on Adelaide roads and claims that there will be one hundred of them in the hands of customers by 2017.

Tesla has recently uploaded software to its 500 Australian electric car owners that provide “drivers” with the ability to ‘go autonomous’ on roads that have line markings. The car warns drivers to place one hand on the steering wheel just in case something goes wrong.

However, first hand reports from a Tesla “driver” I recently spoke with tells me that the Tesla self-driving system is already working well on 80km/hour speed limited roads in the Nelson Bay area of NSW.

The aim of these technological improvements is to reduce accidents; a worthy pursuit that could save thousands of lives and, in addition, could also lead to more energy efficient transportation .

So, the current unmet need in Seniors Transportation will disappear as the elderly will travel by driverless car long after they have handed in their driving licences?

Well MAYBE …… sometime in the future. Technology was always going to be the answer to freeing #ShutinSeniors from being stuck at home or in their Retirement Village units, wasn’t it?

But as that transition is happening, our community will need to contemplate solutions to some of the complexities of providing for the transportation needs of the elderly.

Gloria SuttonThings such as might occur to a Senior:

  • Who will place my walking frame in the boot?
  • Who will close the door after I am belted up and can’t reach the open door handle?
  • Will the car park itself after dropping me safely near the entrance of my destination?
  • How will the driverless car know when to pick me up after a medical appointment of uncertain duration?
  • I have mild dementia. Will I remember how to initiate & direct the driverless car to my destination?
  • Would it call me if I was waiting for a pickup in the wrong location?
  • How would I know which driverless car to enter, if more than one car arrived at the medical centre?
  • I’m a bit frail. I don’t think I could push the door open if the car was parked on a side-slope.
  • Oh. And who could I show the photos of my grandson to as “we” were travelling?


Flyer (print version) - Be neighbourly Dont volunteer

But while the technological advances and solutions emerge, as I believe they will, drivers will continue to volunteer their cars and offer Rides here at HillsCarPal. That way, until technology has all the answers, our growing elderly population can live life to the full rather than becoming a forgotten and unseen generation.

So Volunteers are (still) very much IN. And our clients constantly tell us that our service is FANTASTIC as it helps them to maintain a sense of independence and gives them a chance to chat with some wonderfully caring and considerate volunteers as they get where they need to go.

Of course we can always use a few more volunteers to make FANTASTIC happen more often for more #ShutinSeniors, especially in the lead up to Christmas.

To volunteer your car (& yourself, as driver) with us click FANTASTIC

Or to receive information (without obligation) click subscribe and provide your contact details.

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