Korean police use virtual reality to test the driving ability of the elderly

The Korean police will embark on research and development of a virtual reality-based driving ability assessment solution for people aged 65 and over.

This solution will become a stepping stone for the passage of conditional driver’s licenses for the elderly in a rapidly aging country like South Korea, where about 15% of the population is over 64 years old.

According to data compiled by the Korea Road Traffic Administration’s Traffic Accident Analysis System, out of a total of 209,654 road traffic accidents last year, 31,072 were caused by the elderly.

The rate of death from traffic accidents of the elderly accounts for 46%. To prevent accidents, elderly people have been encouraged to give up their permits in exchange for public transport subsidies and coupons, but participation is low at 2.8%.

The most frequent road accidents are elderly taxi drivers. About 40% of the 241,029 taxi drivers in South Korea are aged 65 or older as of 9 November 2021.

In 2019, the Korea Transportation Safety Board (TS) started passing driving tests for elderly drivers. Taxi, bus and delivery truck drivers will be required to undergo cognitive and mnemonic skills to maintain their licenses.

To make testing more efficient and secure, the Korea National Police Agency launched a three-year project to develop assessment methods using virtual reality (VR) technology. ) to determine if elderly drivers can maintain a conditional license.

The VR solution will test driving skills, perception and memory using a VR headset. VR technology is also used in dementia clinics to check the brain functions of the elderly.

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