Drive Lab

collage of older drivers

How can we help drivers stay behind the wheel as they get older?

As we get older, our reactions and our eyesight deteriorate, and this can affect our confidence in a vehicle. However, giving up driving can leave an older person isolated and inactive.

SiDE has set up DriveLAB to identify issues with an older person’s driving, and to identify areas that may cause stress. The simulator includes features such as eye-trackers to assess where they are looking on the road and bio-monitors to measure stress levels.

The system provides useful analytical information about reaction, lane position, acceleration, braking, driving efficiency, eye movement and speed. Results can be mapped out to show situations that distract a particular driver, cause them stress, or lead them to drive less safely.

SiDE uses an indoor driving simulator and a converted Peugeot Ion electric car to help drivers over 65 to identify problems and stay safe on the road later in life. It is working with older people across the North East and Scotland to overcome issues that are affecting their confidence behind the wheel, and looking into assistive systems that direct drivers to less stressful routes and regulate their speed.

• Guo AW, Brennan D, Edwards SJF, Blythe PT, Emmerson C. Driving on: Using in vehicle systems to help older people stay on the road. In: 19th ITS World Congress. 2012, Vienna, Austria.
• Guo W, Brennan D, Blythe PT. Detecting older driver’s stress level during real-world driving tasks. In: International Conference on Applied Psychology and Behavioral Sciences. 2013, Paris, France: World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology.

Press Coverage

TV coverage (interview clip):

Radio coverage (interview clip):

BBC online

The Journal

The Independent

The Daily Mail–Granny-Nav-Scientists-develop-new-help-pensioners.html

The Sun

NBC Philadelphia