The Council on Aging of Ottawa | (613) 789-3577 | (613) 789-3577
An elderly woman behind the wheel
December 2023
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Mar 22 2023


1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

The SENSE-MD Approach to Healthy Connections in Older Age


Aging is a reality that we all face. Maintaining our connections and activities in older age is essential to health and happiness. Driving is a skill that supports our community engagement and thus our quality of life; yet, normal aging and disease can affect our ability to drive safely across the lifespan.

The SENSE-MD Project* is a three-year research program that will develop tools that can support older drivers in making healthy choices about their driving and prolong their safe driving years. The technology behind SENSE-MD makes use of sensors and networks that already exist in vehicles, such as those in advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). You may already be enjoying (or avoiding!) numerous ADAS safety features in your vehicle, including park assist, lane keeping assistance, or adaptive cruise control. In the SENSE-MD project, the data from ADAS sensors, like GPS and cameras, will be interpreted by artificial intelligence programs to identify changes in driver performance and risk of accidents. Results of the SENSE-MD project will allow drivers, and the safety team of their choosing, to be informed early of changes in driver performance trends so that smart choices, such as taking driver refresher courses and/or modifying when or where you drive, can be made.

In this presentation, the SENSE-MD team will talk about their research and what they have learned about older drivers and their use of ADAS features and, in particular, the trust levels that older drivers have in this technology. They will also take some time to ask you for your opinions on the most feasible and acceptable ways that this driving data can be collected, stored, and shared, with the goal of extending and optimising our driving activities in older age.

* The SENSE-MD Project is funded by the NRC Aging in Place Challenge Program and the CIHR Institute of Aging.


Dr. Kathleen Van Benthem, SENSE-MD Research Team
Kathleen Van Benthem has a degree in Occupational Therapy (Queen’s University) and was a member of the project team for the National Blueprint for Injury Prevention in Older Driver project for the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists. She has a masters degree in Health Studies (Athabasca University) and a doctoral degree in Cognitive Science from Carleton University, where she holds a position as Adjunct Research Professor. Dr. Van Benthem provides clinical, research, and policy development expertise in older driver safety. She designs and carries out human factors experiments that include high-fidelity flight simulation and simulated and closed track driving protocols.

Dr. Bruce Wallace, SENSE-MD Research Team
Bruce Wallace is Executive Director of the AGE-WELL National Innovation Hub on Sensors and Analytics to Monitor Memory and Mobility (SAM3), an Adjunct Research Professor at Carleton University, and an Affiliated Investigator at Bruyère Research Institute. He holds a B.E.Sc. from Western, an M.Eng. and Ph.D. from Carleton University. He leads SAM3 which is a collaboration between the Bruyère Research Institute and Carleton University in partnership with the AGE-WELL Network Centres of Excellence focused on research and innovation projects using technology-based solutions to enable an aging population to maintain a healthy and independent lifestyle.

Dr. Chris Herdman, SENSE-MD Principal Investigator
Chris Herdman has been a Professor of Cognitive Science and Psychology at Carleton University since 1988. He conducts interdisciplinary research that bridges fundamental and applied research with a focus on age-related changes that may impact performance and safety in two areas: (a) operating motor vehicles, and (b) piloting aircraft.

Dr. Jocelyn Keillor is a Senior Research Scientist at National Research Council Canada’s Flight Research Laboratory. Dr. Keillor’s research focuses on the use of physiological measures to study aircrew alertness, fatigue, and performance in real and simulated flight. Dr. Keillor provides leadership for the SENSE-MD project under the NRC Aging in Place Challenge Program.

Presented by: COA’s Older Drivers Sub-committee


Date:  Wednesday, March 22, 2023
Time: 1:30 am – 3:00 pm
Link: A confirmation letter with the ZOOM link
will be sent to you on the morning of the event.


Contact: 613-789-3577 ext. 3