Public Release:  International vision and driving experts coming to Detroit

Henry Ford Health System

DETROIT - Autonomous cars, driver distraction, and traffic signals for color-blind drivers are just some of the many topics to be discussed at a meeting of international experts on vision and driving, coming to metro Detroit.

The Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology (DIO) is holding its bi-annual research congress on September 16 - 18 at The Henry, 300 Town Center Drive, Fairlane Plaza, in Dearborn.

The Eye, The Brain, & The Auto is dedicated to improving the understanding of the relationship between vision and driving. At this collaborative event, the DIO brings together more than 30 authorities from the auto industry and the visual research world.

Lawrence Smythe. Ed.D. principal engineer, Human Engineering, Nissan Technical Center, N.A., Farmington Hills, and Lawrence Burns, Ph.D., are the keynote speakers. Smythe is speaking on the importance of vision research even after the full implementation of autonomous vehicles. Burns' topic is Transforming Personal Mobility.

Panelists for the event are coming from across the U.S., Europe, and Asia include:

  • Cynthia Owsley, Ph.D., University of Alabama, the world's leading authority on the relationship between vision and safe driving, will speak about how the level of vision relates to crash statistics and who should be allowed to drive.

  • David Eby, Ph.D., University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, will present on Cognitive Impairment and Driving. Older drivers, especially males, won't buy a car designed for "old folks". Can we design vehicles that overcome age-related challenges?

  • Joanne Wood, Ph.D., Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia, is the developer and director of one of the largest closed-circuit driving course. She studies drivers in real time, without simulators.

  • Ergun Uc, M.D., University of Iowa, will discuss Driving Rehabilitation in Neurological Diseases of the Elderly, and possible strategies for rehabilitation. With ever-increasing life spans, this research is critical to allow patients to safely maintain their independence.

Additional topics include:

  • Driver safety and attention
  • Design issues of cars and roads
  • Visual impairment and conditions affecting driving
  • Driver assessment and government policies
  • Rehabilitation strategies for visually challenged drivers

"This three-day congress provides an exchange of scientific advances," says Philip Hessburg, M.D., medical director of the DIO. "The collaboration created at these congresses helps advance research at a faster pace."

The institute hosts two biennial world research congresses. The Eye and The Chip, produced in alternate years, brings scientists to Detroit to discuss ophthalmology's pursuit of advancements in artificial vision.

The DIO is part of the Department of Ophthalmology at Henry Ford Health System.

A portion of the congress will be video streamed, and multiple presentations will be available on flash drive for purchase.


To register, or for more information on The Eye, The Brain & The Auto, visit, or call (313) 824-4710.

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