Study will analyze cognitive changes in older drivers


Researchers at Florida Atlantic University have created a sensor system capable of detecting driver actions that may be related to cognitive decline. Cameras are installed on vehicle windshields and analyze drivers’ behaviors and facial expressions.

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Camera installed on the car windshield (Image: Jinwoo Jang/Florida Atlantic University)

The system has several devices to monitor drivers

The cameras also monitor eye movement and signs of drowsiness and distraction in drivers. There are indices to evaluate attention to traffic signs and signs, pedestrians, cyclists and nearby vehicles, as well as the moment of braking and near collisions.

Another device, installed under the rear-view mirror, faces forward and records external events. The videos are analyzed in real time, thanks to artificial intelligence, and a telematics unit is responsible for collecting the data and downloading it every three months.

The objective of the study is to recruit 460 participants and form three groups: one with people who show mild cognitive decline; another with individuals with dementia in its early stages; and the third without any type of disorder. Everyone will undergo tests and will be monitored.

Researchers claim that they have already identified Alzheimer's disease in the brains of elderly people who died in car accidents and who did not know they had the disease. The scientists' idea is to detect possible dysfunctions as early as possible.

Researchers want to detect possible dysfunctions in drivers as quickly as possible (Image: Toa55/Shutterstock)

Elderly people in the driver's seat

  • In the United States, it is estimated that between four million and eight million people who have some type of moderate cognitive problem are behind the wheel, with a third of them developing dementia within five years.
  • The progression of the disease will prevent them from continuing to drive, but most are unaware of their condition.
  • The study aims to help identify these situations, but does not intend to shorten the years of driving for seniors.
  • According to the National Institutes of Health, the North American biomedical research agency, older drivers, who face physical limitations such as vision and hearing problems, compensate for difficulties with experience and respect for traffic laws.
  • Available data indicate that drivers aged between 65 and 74 are part of the group that is least involved in accidents.
  • The information is from G1.


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