For ages, blind people have been devoid of the ability to travel in a vehicle by themselves. Going anywhere would mean a guide dog, dependency on a relative or simply not go at all. Well now, things have started to change and there is eventually hope for a blind person. Virginia Tech University in association with the National Federation for the Blind have come up with a revolutionary vehicle meant specially to give blind people the freedom to drive around.
This idea has just taken shape in the form of a debut prototype which would be released in 2011. The full version may take more than a year to be brought out for public use. The vehicle is equipped with non-visual interfaces, which means that specially designed devices will be transmitting information regarding the surrounding to the blind person behind the wheels.
This concept was initially given out by Virginia Tech’s students who participated in the DARPA GRAND CHALLENGE of 2007 where they gave an idea of a driverless vehicle.
That concept later on turned on to be a vehicle for the blind where the car would be sensing the nature of traffic and giving information to them. It also includes a vibrating vest that would tell drivers how to react to existing traffic conditions.
The prototype would be brought out to have a test drive at the DAYTONA International Speedway in January 2011. The car will be that of a Ford Escape which will have the latest technology of vibrations and compressed air, who’s main task will be to transmit information about road and traffic conditions to the driver. It will be constantly transmitting “how to drive” information in contrast with the road condition. So a blind person will have to awaken up all his other senses and be very alert to the information being transmitted.
If this technology is successful, there will be a new hope for the blind and eventually they can contribute more to society. As it is, we have been ignoring and underestimating disabled people to a large extent. Now its time to work for them and integrate them into the workforce of society.