Google Views Stranded Seniors as Big Market for Self-Driving Cars

With more than 43 million people in the U.S. now 65 and older, and 10,000 more hitting that mark every day, aging Americans are a natural target market for self-driving vehicles. Mobility needs — getting to the doctor or the grocery store, seeing family and friends — become paramount for seniors, especially since 79 percent live in suburbs and rural areas (PDF).

“For the first time in history, older people are going to be the lifestyle leaders of a new technology,” said Joseph Coughlin, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s AgeLab in Cambridge. “Younger people may have had smartphones in their hands first, but it’s the 50-plus consumers who will be first with smart cars.”