Aging and the design of cars
Despite the auto industry's struggle, effort continues to be dedicated to better understand the needs of older drivers. A recent newspaper article by Yuri Kageyama (AP) discussed Nissan Motor Co.'s efforts to design for the aged population. Their designers are using an aging suit that simulates poor balance, stiff joints and goggles that imitate poor eyesight and color-blindness. Designers are using this suit to improve vehicle interior design to meet the functional capabilities of older drivers.
Some key design features they are looking at are door handles that open easily by either hand, and increasing the size and font color of navigation systems and speedometers to improve visual referencing. Nissan is not the first to use an aging suit to aid in vehicle user design; Ford has a similar suit for this application.
It will be interesting to see if the auto companies take this work so far as to improve signal detection and reaction times associated with driving.