It is important that users accept and trust connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technology for the associated benefits to be realised. Potential benefits could be widespread, leading to improvements in safety, accessibility, efficiency and environmental management. Therefore, FLOURISH adopted a user-focused approach to better understand consumer needs and expectations of CAV technology.
FLOURISH explored how this technology can be harnessed to enhance and enable mobility for older adults and those with mobility-related conditions. As the size of the UK’s ageing population continues to rise, it is vital that the needs of this user group are considered, enabling them to remain independent, reducing loneliness and improving well-being. Similarly, the needs of those with mobility-related conditions must be met to support these individuals to remain active in society. Therefore, by understanding the mobility challenges faced by these groups, FLOURISH is contributing to the development of a stronger and more inclusive society.
To understand the needs and expectations of these user groups, FLOURISH utilised an iterative, co-design process. Participants from across the UK were involved in this process through workshops and a series of simulator and live pod trials, conducted by the University of the West of England, Cardiff University, Connected Places Catapult, Designability and Traverse. Age UK was a key FLOURISH partner, providing broader insights into the lives of older people and the mobility challenges currently faced. As a result, it was possible to capture and articulate the needs of users in two distinct areas:
- The wider mobility needs of older people and those with mobility-related conditions, and how CAVs might address these.
- The needs for how CAVs should function and how older people would interact with them. A key focus of this area was the development of a Human-Machine Interface (HMI) for CAV users.