Japanese telecommunications and tech giant NTT is developing a new system that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to detect the cognitive ability of elderly drivers.

The company’s data unit – NTT DATA –  says it has already started work with Tokyo taxi firm Kokusai Motorcars on the project, which is scheduled to run until the end of June. Together they will analyse the driving behaviour of Kokusai Motorcars’ taxi drivers in order to develop the AI solution.

The AI system will analyse driving speed, acceleration and deceleration, and other driving data to assess whether drivers are seeing a decline in cognitive brain activity, such as the ability to make snap judgments and pay attention. The taxi company will collect a large amount of driving data from dozens of taxis whose drivers are 65 years old or older, which will be fed to NTT DATA so it can develop AI algorithms and verify the accuracy of driver judgments.

Data will be collected by attaching measurement devices equipped with global positioning systems, sensors and communication functions to the vehicles. It will then be sent to AI in the cloud to measure driving behaviours such as sudden braking and acceleration. This data will then be analysed in conjunction with the driver’s original cognitive function status and age to determine whether the driver’s cognitive abilities are normal or if they are in decline.

NTT DATA says it is aiming to launch the system as a cloud-based service within the next couple of years, with the service being targeted at the taxi and logistics industries in particular, where the average age of drivers is steadily increasing.

The system will also be made available to general drivers in the future and NTT DATA is also considering building a specific version of this solution for insurance companies, so that it can be incorporated as a function of their insurance products.

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