Driving Blind: Exploring the Unexplorable

BlindDriver2010-07-24.jpg“The National Federation of the Blind operates a science camp to inspire young blind students, such as the girl above [Addison Hugen]. The organization is working with Virginia Tech on a vehicle equipped with sensors for blind drivers.” Source of photo: online version of the article quoted and cited below. Source of caption: print version of the article quoted and cited below. [Bracketed name from online version of caption.]

(p. 3A) WASHINGTON (AP) – Could a blind person drive a car? Researchers are trying to make that far-fetched notion a reality.

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.
The technology, called “nonvisual interfaces,” uses sensors to let a blind driver maneuver a car based on information transmitted to him about his surroundings: whether another car or object is nearby, in front of him or in a neighboring lane.
Advocates for the blind consider it a “moon shot,” a goal similar to President John F. Kennedy’s pledge to land a man on the moon. For many blind people, driving a car long has been considered impossible. But researchers hope the project could revolutionize mobility and challenge long-held assumptions about limitations.
“We’re exploring areas that have previously been regarded as unexplorable,” said Dr. Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind.

For the full story, see:
KEN THOMAS . “Blind Drivers Goal of High-Tech Car Project.” Omaha World-Herald (Saturday, July 3, 2010): 3A.
(Note: the online version of the article has the title: “Driving while blind? Maybe, with new high-tech car.”)

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