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“Granny nav” sat nav dumbs down for the elderly, only shows left turns

Boffins have won a huge research grant to develop a sat nav aimed specifically at the elderly. The so-called granny nav will dumb down guidance by only showing routes with left turns.

The £12m "granny nav" plots routes with only left turns.
The £12m “granny nav” plots routes with only left turns.

The £12m system is designed to be simpler to use than ordinary sat nav systems, claims The Sun. By plotting routes with only left turns, it theoretically reduces journey complexity, although we imagine it would also increase the likelihood of driving around in circles.

Research leader Professor Phil Blythe said: “A lot of elderly drivers are nervous and don’t trust their sight or judgment. Some try to use routes where they only make left turns because a right turn means negotiating oncoming traffic and they don’t have the confidence. The result is that people stop driving before they really need to.”

Some might argue that if you don’t have the confidence to make a right turn because you’re worried about encountering other cars, that’s quite a good sign you really do need to stop driving. 

The system will also dumb down the way it relays instructions. Instead of telling the driver to turn at the next left, for example, it’ll ask them to turn at landmarks such as a Post Office. Again, we think this is an awful idea, as this method of navigation actively instructs people to take their eyes off the road to watch out for landmarks on roads they’re not familiar with and terrified to be on.

There’s also the tricky issue of keeping the sat-nav updated regularly enough to account for the day when that Post Office turns into a Tesco Express.

It’s possible we’re being a bit harsh here, but when a driver no longer trusts their eyesight, is scared of dealing with other cars and doesn’t have the faculties to process simple instructions such as “take the next left”, maybe they shouldn’t be on the road?

What do you think? Should we be keeping our elderly on the road longer? Should the £12m be spent on something else? Sorting out a few potholes, maybe? Let us know on our Facebook page, hit the ‘like’ button below to share with friends or leave us a comment below.

Photo: Al.Maia

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