Driving Assistance Technology to Support Hazard Detection and Avoidance for Senior Drivers with Central Vision Loss

Project Overview

With the aging of the population, the likelihood diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), are increasing. Driving is critical to maintaining independence and quality of life in the senior population. An important goal, therefore, is to support senior drivers with vision impairments to continue driving provided they can do so safely. Technology to support driving safety, such as Advanced Driving Assistance Systems, may have great potential to improve driving safety for drivers with vision impairments. Therefore, this research aims to understand how age-related vision loss impacts driving, and to explore new driver assistance technologies to support safe mobility for senior drivers with central vision loss.

Driving is a critical factor for maintaining independence and quality of life for senior adults. It is also an activity that depends heavily on visual information.  Therefore, the increased prevalence of eye disease that comes with age is a problem that can impact safety of senior drivers. Advanced driver assistance technologies such as forward collision warning, blind spot warning and lane departure warning systems are becoming widely available in many newer cars. These technologies can help to reduce road accidents, and have significant potential to improve driving safety for people with vision impairments who are still driving. However, there is a lack of knowledge on how these technologies can help drivers with vision loss. The actual benefits and challenges of these technologies are still in the very early stages of exploration.
My current research aims to explore “how assistance and automated technologies can support the safety and mobility needs of senior drivers with vision loss.” This work will explore the impact of age-related central vision loss on driving. We also will be to design and porotype a driving assistance device for older drivers with central vision loss to assist with hazard detection and avoidance while driving. In this study, we will invite senior adults who have age-related macular degeneration and age-matched senior drivers with normal sights to our lab at Envision, to help us evaluate our prototype by participating in a driving experiment in our driving simulator and providing feedback. We expect our research can provide the potential to help senior individuals with visual impairments to safely drive for a longer time.
Get Involved
As a Researcher
If you are interested in developing the assistance device or assistive technology used in vehicles for senior drivers or drivers with vision loss, or if you are interested in getting research experience in running studies with people with vision impairments, please contact Dr. Jing Xu at: jxu@envisionus.com
As a Participant
We are looking for participants come to Envision and participate in our driving experiment. If you are diagnosed with some form of Macular Degeneration, currently drive or have driven in the past 10 years, and you are interested in participating driving study, please contact Dr. Jing Xu for more information: 316-440-1544 or jxu@envisionus.com.


Join This Study

If you are interested in participating, please contact Dr. Jing Xu for more information: 316-440-1544 or jxu@envisionus.com.

Jing Xu, PhD
Research Associate

Team Members

Jing Xu, PhD
Research Associate Alex Bowers, PhD
Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and Associate Scientist at Schepens Eye Research Institute of Massachusetts Eye and Ear Rui Ni, PhD
Associate Professor of Psychology at Wichita State University and Director, Visual Perception and Cognition Laboratory Ale Nguerre
Research Intern