In the UK alone, some 1.5 million senior citizens are largely confined to their own homes due to incapacity or lack of transportation, reports The Telegraph. That’s an astounding number, and the statistics are undoubtedly even more wowing here in the U.S.

But problems only persist until technology can solve them, and it looks like the days of “default house arrest” may soon be over for elderly people all around the world. Just thank the driverless car.

Self-driving automobiles have been all the rage in technology circles for a few years now. Indeed, they’re already on their way. Major manufacturers have whole fleets in development, and experts are working to refine their reliability and safety features. They may be just a few years away from the mainstream.

In a new report by the International Longevity Centre UK, researchers conclude, “whilst a few years ago the idea of driverless cars would be firmly in the realms of science fiction, the rapid advancement of technology means that driverless cars are now a real possibility – and they are likely to be on the roads in years, rather than decades.”

That could utterly revolutionize life for seniors, empowering them to access everything from the local supermarket to the emergency room whenever they need it. In a sense, gone would be the days when someone has to stop driving because they’ve gotten “too old.”

The really interesting thing about this article is that, when we first started hearing about driverless cars, I dare say no one imagined elderly people inside them. It just goes to show how endlessly applicable modern technology and the imagination can be in the realm of senior care and modern aging.

It’s a fast-emerging future, speeding toward us so steadily that it’s practically driving itself.

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