Driverless Cars and Older adults

Full Study Title

Acceptability of Autonomous Cars among Older Adults

Study Description

In North America, driving is becoming a necessity for carrying out every-day tasks. Accordingly, when older adults are asked to give up driving, their lives are disrupted. Many have to adjust to different routines or even move to a different house. However, if a car can navigate and control itself, then there is no concern in having older adults on roads. They can live the life they have been used to and maintain their independent lifestyles.

Autonomous cars can thus have a major benefit for older adults. However, all of the benefits of this fairly new technology for older adults depend on them using it. So it is important to understand how older adults interact with the technology or how they prefer to interact with the technology. By understanding that, autonomous cars can then be tailor-made for the use of older adults and hence can keep them behind the wheel and enable them to maintain their lifestyle of choice.

The purpose of this study is to evaluate older adults' experience when riding in an autonomous car. In an autonomous car, the driver has no control over the steering wheel or the pedals and all the navigation is carried out by the system. Participants will be asked to drive in a driving simulator and to ride in autonomous scenarios. In the driving trial, participants will be asked to comply with the traffic rules as they would in real driving. In the autonomous mode, they will be asked to monitor the road as if they were driving. Afterward, participants will be required to answer some questionnaires.

Eligibility Criteria

You can participate in this study if you are over the age of 65,  have a valid driver's license, sufficient knowledge of English language and drive on a regular basis.

You are NOT eligible to participate in the study if you have any kind of self-reported physical impairments, any kind of cognitive impairments as determined by Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), history of self-reported motion sickness, and/or prior exposure to driverless cars such as Tesla.

Duration and Compensation

The study includes a brief phone interview to determine eligibility and two visits to Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. The first visit takes about an hour and the second visit takes about two hours. Participants will receive compensation for their time.

Principal Investigator

This study is conducted by Dr. Alex Mihailidis, Dr. Jennifer Campos, and Shabnam Haghzare. If you have questions about the study, please contact:

Ethics approval

This study has been approved by the Research Ethics Board of the University Health Network (REB# 17-5510)


If you want to participate in this study, you can sign up below. By signing up you agree to be contacted by a research member of our team, but you do not commit to participating in the study. You can decline your participation at any time. 

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