This Technology is coming.

By Steve Moran

A couple of days ago I read this article GM, Lyft bringing self-driving cabs to Austin. It turns out the headline is a bit optimistic.  They don’t actually have a plan or a timetable, but the car companies like downtown Austin because it is a relatively small area and has a 30 mph speed limit.

It seems inevitable that self-driving cars are on the way. It is almost certain that if we all instantly could ride in self-driving cars, the roads would be much safer and think of how much more productive commuters would be.  

They also hold great promise for seniors.

Help or Hurt Senior Living

Losing the ability to drive is a big motivator for moving into a senior living community. Shopping for food, mostly becomes a thing of the past. The community has transportation for other errands and for excursions. In my own life, I am thinking my mother and her husband should move into senior living. He still works and so she is stuck at home since she lost her license a few months ago. That loss of being able to drive has been devastating to her mental health.

The only reason for her to move really would be to provide her better socialization.  

On the other hand . . .

Imagine what it would be like for your senior living community to only need a bus for group activities. If a resident needed to go to a medical appointment, order up a self-driving Lyft car. Same thing for shopping or even just going out to an activity or for a meal. It might even get to the point that senior living communities would have their own fleet of self-driving cars.  

It would mean greater freedom and flexibility for residents and staff. It would mean lower costs for the community.

Getting to the point of using driverless cars will raise some interesting questions:

  • What are the liability and insurance issues?

  • What if a resident has a medical issue or even an incontinence issue while in a driverless car?

  • When they take a ride in a driverless car, how can you make sure they get back ok?

  • Will residents be willing to ride in a car without a driver?

  • Will families be comfortable with it?

When they are available, will you be an early adopter, late adopter or something else?