Ford looks to design cars for visually impaired

Ford has joined forces with Cambridge University to gain a better understanding of visual impairment issues that come with an aging society and to use digital tools to better design vehicles for those with vision problems.

The World Health Organisation reports that 285 million people worldwide suffer from some form of visual impairment. Of these, about 65 per cent are aged 50 and over. And with a rapidly ageing population, the number of visually impaired is expected to grow.

With age, the ability to see fine details deteriorates, as does the ability to see in the dark. This means many drivers can struggle to read the instrument cluster while driving, unless they have bifocal or varifocal glasses. Other eye conditions, such as glaucoma, cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, are also prevalent among those 50 and older.

“Visual impairment is a natural part of ageing and affects many millions of people around the world,” said Angelika Engel, ergonomics attribute specialist at Ford of Europe. “But because it is such a gradual process, it can often go unnoticed for many years. We tend to subconsciously look around the problem until it reaches a point where it is so severe that it can no longer be ignored. Even conditions like AMD and glaucoma can come on very slowly.”


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