MFG 2.0

Cool Thing Of The Day: Driving Blind (Literally)

The next time you scream at another driver, "What are you, blind?", the answer could well be "Yes".

According to an AP story:

"The National Federation of the Blind and Virginia Tech plan to demonstrate a prototype vehicle next year equipped with technology that helps a blind person drive a car independently."

Relying on "nonvisual interfaces" to assist blind drivers, the technology can (supposedly) give even a blind person enough information about his surroundings to navigate the many obstacles and objects that one encounters out on the road these days. (Including drivers who are only metaphorically "blind".)

According to the story, the vehicle that will be demonstrated "has its roots in Virginia Tech's 2007 entry into the DARPA Grand Challenge, a competition for driverless vehicles funded by the Defense Department's research arm. The university's team won third place for a self-driving vehicle that used sensors to perceive traffic, avoid crashing into other cars and objects and run like any other vehicle."

Here's a photo of VT's entry:
http://www.edmunds.com/media/reviews/top10/top10.automotive.colleges/vt.evening.darpa.500.jpg


So, in a sense, the blind "driver" is stepping into a self-driving vehicle. Maybe they could sit in the back seat?

TAGS: Innovation
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