South Korea to Use Virtual Reality to Evaluate Elderly Drivers

South Korea traffic
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The South Korean police want to evaluate the driving ability of elderly drivers using a virtual reality evaluation solution. The new solution is supposed to tackle the country’s problem with road accidents, many of which are caused by drivers aged 65 and older.

Just like most other industrialized countries, the population of South Korea is aging. In 2017, the country has joined the ranks of the so-called aged societies. The list also includes Monaco, Japan, Germany, and Italy.

The World and Korea Population Forecast released by the National Statistical Office estimates that people aged 65 or older will represent 37 percent of the country’s population.

To ensure that elderly commercial drivers are fit for the road, the Korea Transportation Safety Authority (TS) currently employs a traditional driver evaluation test. Still, elderly drivers caused over 31,000 out of the 209,654 road accidents that took place in South Korea last year, so the battle has clearly yet to be won.

The hope is that the new virtual reality solution will reverse the tide by becoming a stepping stone to the broader adoption of conditional driver’s licenses. These special licenses are currently issued mostly to people who are charged with a DUI, allowing them to use their vehicles for important obligations only. By 2025, the government was to expand conditional driver’s licenses for the elderly, relying on virtual reality evaluations to test driving, cognitive, and memory skills.

We don’t have any specific information about the virtual reality evaluation solution the government of South Korea plans to use. It’s possible, however, that it will be based on the research carried out by the University of Seoul’s Sooncheon Hwang, Sunhoon Kim, and Dongmin Lee of the department of transportation engineering.

In a paper entitled, “Driving Performance Evaluation Correlated to Age and Visual Acuities Based on VR Technologies,” the three researchers revealed that dynamic visual acuity levels are significant determinants of driving behavior and can be used as evaluation parameters.

Source: Yonhap News

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