It has been great to hear of all the work being done to consider the range of future users of autonomous vehicles. It is important to consider accessible vehicles in the context of the broader transportation system and community accessibility. Some of the trickiness of using different transportation options include things like planning, understanding changing/responsive systems (as opposed to fixed schedules and stops), hailing or organising travel, problem solving when things go wrong - and also feeling safe and having the information during the trip. Introducing new transportation technologies is likely to affect the availability of existing familiar services for users too. There is the possibility that the new technologies may realise the potential for supporting more community participation than existing systems which would be fantastic. Equally we need to consider whether the changes may introduce new exclusions, or perpetuate existing ones.
We are researching existing and new transportation technologies with people living with dementia and their care partners. It can be difficult to reflect on whether something will be effective and safe when trying out a vehicle only in a supported context. I think this can get missed in having contained small studies and many technology creators assume that this is already taken care of ("I'm sure someone is doing this").
It would be wonderful to have the means of including a diverse group of users throughout the development and testing processes as vehicles, interfaces and systems change. Trialling the way things fit in with the people usual lives is very important. I hope this is being considered and funded.