Over the years, there’s been a lot of hype about the introduction of driverless cars. However, public opinion has been very much divided.
Trials have already been carried out across the UK including Coventry, Milton Keynes, Bristol and Greenwich, with car manufacturers now expecting driverless cars to be on the road by 2021.
While many drivers are worried about the safety and lack of control they’ll have in a driverless vehicle, for others it could make a huge difference to their quality of life. Here, we’ll look at how driverless cars could help those struggling with disabilities.
Helping to provide a new level of independence
One of the key challenges disabled people face, is maintaining their independence. Whilst there’s been a lot of improvements made over the years to help disabled people become more independent, there are still issues which need to be addressed.
Driverless cars, if completely self-driven, could prove invaluable to those with disabilities. It would provide opportunities for those who right now, are unable to get behind the wheel. People with vision impairments for example, would gain a lot more independence being able to travel independently without relying upon others.
However, manufacturers are warning it will be a long time before driverless cars can be fully self-operational. The models currently being developed still require some level of manual operation. So, while they will help some disabled people get behind the wheel, those with more severe disabilities will need to wait for more advanced driverless technology to be developed.
What options are available right now?
There’s no denying driverless cars will aid those with disabilities, but with no set date of when they’ll be released, it’s worth looking into the options you have available right now.
For example, there are speciality companies such as Allied Mobility, which produce customised vehicles for disabled drivers and passengers. They can modify vehicles to cater to individual needs such as increasing the height of the roof, lowering the pedals and creating wheelchair modifications.
Overall, driverless vehicles could prove to be a vital lifeline for disabled people. However, it’s unlikely we’ll see fully self-driven cars on UK roads for many years. Obviously, safety is paramount, so the government and manufacturers need to be 100% certain the technology works before it can be trusted into the mainstream auto industry. For now, disabled drivers do have options open to them; particularly in terms of modified vehicles.