A United Kingdom-based company in June will begin a six-month test of the same technology used by self-driving cars to see whether it can help in the care of older adults.

Home care company Cera Care will work with the IBM Research lab in the U.K. to test LiDAR (light detection and ranging) sensors, which use pulsed laser light to create three-dimensional scans of objects and their context. Among the potential benefits of the LiDAR sensors in a care setting, according to the company, are that they are less invasive (because they don’t recognize personal characteristics) and more accurate than other approaches.

“While LiDAR promises to act as a powerful set of ‘eyes and ears,’ IBM Watson AI will provide the brains,” Cera Care Chief Product Officer Ansgar Lange, Ph.D., and co-founder and CEO Ben Maruthappu, M.D., wrote in a recent blog post for IBM. IBM Watson’s machine-learning capabilities, they said, can learn an individual’s daily routine and make recommendations to help caregivers enhance care plans.

Although the trial will be conducted in the homes of Cera Care clients, Lange told McKnight’s Senior Living that the technology potentially “could add significant value in senior living communities.”

“It could allow us to support people living independently in communities by increasing the transparency of care, helping to detect the onset of deterioration in an individual’s physical or psychological condition, and providing additional safety through the automatic detection of falls,” he said.

Cera Care’s vision, Lange explained, is to care for older adults by combining objective data obtained from the sensors with subjective assessments by caregivers.

“Using AI and machine learning technologies, sensor data can be analyzed 24/7, enabling care providers to adjust and personalize their service offerings, thereby allowing people to stay longer in their homes or senior living communities,” he said. “Used in combination with support from professional carers, we believe that these technologies have the power to enhance and maintain a high-quality of care with manageable costs in environments in which people feel happiest.”

Watch the technology in action:

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