Safe Driving-Quality of Life Technology Center - Carnegie Mellon University

QoLT Systems: Safe Driving

Project Lead:  Aaron Steinfeld, Carnegie Mellon

The automobile industry and U.S. Department of Transportation are expending considerable effort on technologies for incident handling – technologies that respond to various dangerous situations, such as lane departure and pending collisions. The approach taken by QoLT Safe Driving, in contrast, is to use technologies for shifting overall driver’s behavior and decision-making tendencies toward safer ones. This is akin to efforts to reduce and thus combat driving-under-the-influence and drowsy driving through the use of technology.

The Safe Driving QoLT Systems is a cluster of projects focused on improving quality of life through technologies that support independent driving. Person and Society is integrated into all projects in this cluster. Like aging in place, the transition from driving to not driving can often occur due to external factors that have no relationship to the driver's actual ability. This is mostly manifested as an issue with payment - either for equipment or training. Therefore, technology alone is not sufficient. Likewise, it is also important to address payment, policy, and privacy issues.

Safe Driving addresses two key issues related to transportation independence: 1) providing personalized advice specific to the driver’s safety, capabilities, and preferences; and 2) enabling driving by removal of barriers. This has led us to three core projects:  DriveCap, DriveCap Navigator, and Vehicle Transformation.  These projects were selected by working with the Person and Society Thrust (PST), gathering focus group input, and surveying the literature and published data.  Our findings suggest that fulfilling these needs would provide a leap forward for the QoLT target populations – older adults and people with disabilities.