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Car makers design chair for older drivers

27th September 2014

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

Ford car engineers have worn ‘age suits’ in order to design cars for an aging population. The new Ford car development aims to make driving more accessible to older generations who suffer from mobility difficulties. 

With this new development it is hoped that full mobility will eventually be possible both inside the home, as a result of innovations in new stair lifts and similar aids, and outside the home, as a result of this new technology. The news comes after it was announced that driverless cars are to come to trial on British roads as of January next year, as reported in this previous article, as vehicle manufacturers try to cater for an aging population whose mobility needs are changing all the time.

‘Understand the needs of an aging population’

The specialised suits make the wearer’s body feel anything from 20-40 years older than it actually is, enabling the car engineers to better empathise with their older clientele and build cars that will ‘understand the needs of an aging population’. Ford ergonomics engineer, Nadia Preston, said of the experience in this article, “I found just taking simple steps was a challenge, getting in and out of the vehicle.”

The company has said that each detail of the design of the cars will be carefully considered, including the placement of handles and the design of the steering wheel. It is hoped that this will not only better cater for the aging population we as a society now face, but also that the designs will benefit everyone as Preston said, “Nobody ever complains the gauges are too large or 'Wow this is too easy to read,'" and "It's going to serve all walks of life.”

Much like bathrooms and other aspects of the home that are now being designed and fitted with an older perspective, with walk in showers and baths not only a stylish design element but now a necessity for many, the design industry is becoming increasingly aware of the importance of considering their elderly clientele.

Image Credit: David Reber (flickr.com)

This content was written by Emily Bray. Please feel free to visit my Google + profile to read more stories.