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10/22/2012 - Researchers name the top automotive technology for seniors

New technology is helping older drivers.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently compiled a list of some of the best technologies for older drivers.

Joseph Coughlin, director of MIT's AgeLab, noted that these developments have helped to reduce accidents among mature drivers by giving motorists a certain sense of self-assurance when they are behind the wheel.

"As more and more of these features are incorporated into vehicles, we believe that it's important for drivers to be knowledgeable of and use those technologies that can enhance safe driving capacity, comfort, and confidence," said Coughlin.

1. Smart headlights. Perhaps one of the best automotive technological advancements is smart headlights. Researchers say these headlights have proven to be invaluable for drivers, mature ones, in particular, because they adjust the range and intensity of light based on the vehicle's surroundings and how far away other cars are from them.

2. Emergency response systems. Another top improvement is emergency response systems that many cars come with these days. If an elderly driver gets into an accident, they can call for emergency assistance right away and later alert their auto insurance provider.

3. Blind spot alert systems. Virtually all vehicles have areas in which it's hard for motorists to see what's to their side or behind them. These blind spot warning systems send out an auditory noise that makes them aware someone or something is outside their peripheral vision when making a lane change or parking.

4. Reverse monitoring systems. In a similar vein, reverse monitoring systems warn drivers of something that's behind them.

5. Voice-activated technology. Doing several things at once is a serious issue for automotive safety and a leading contributor to accidents resulting from distracted driving. However, may cars today often carry voice-activated system technology, where the driver can simply say some kind of command - such as making a phone call home - and the request will be carried out.

Other top technologies for mature drivers cited by MIT researchers included drowsy driver alerts, crash mitigation systems, parking assistance technology, lane departure warnings and vehicle stability control.

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