Saturday, January 29, 2011

Images from a historic day for the blind at Daytona

Scenes from today’s successful run of the Blind Driver Challenge car at the Daytona International Motorspeeday, part of the Rolex24 Race. There, Mark Riccobono, of the National Federation of the Blind, drove the track in a modified 2010 Ford Escape Hybrid SUV. The vehicle uses a variety of non-visual interfaces to assist the driver in the tasks of driving – steering, braking, accelerating and the like. After the demo, Riccobono said starting today, "being a blind driver is no longer an insult."

In the following photos:

A blind child uses his hands to feel one of the cars, modified by students at the Virginia Tech College of Engineering and engineers at TORC Technologies, a company based in Blacksburg.

(Left to right) Virginia Tech College of Engineering doctoral student Paul D’Angio and masters student Ryan Colby, both in mechanical engineering, talk to Virginia Tech associate professor Dennis Hong. The trio, along with a score of other graduate and undergraduate students at the university, spent months preparing for Saturday’s event in Daytona.

Laura Strickland, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering, explains the non-visual interfaces of the Blind Driver Challenge car to members of the National Federation of the Blind. It should be noted that not all members of NFB at the event are blind, many are family or friends of the blind.

Photos by Steven D. A. Mackay

1 comment:

  1. Hi Steven!
    What an exciting day, thank you for capturing it in your blog. It was great meeting you Saturday by the car while you were talking with Paul. Thank you for giving me info about your blog. I invited Sabrina Deaton who is the president of the Daytona Chapter of the NFB to follow this too. Looking forward your next entries :) Savvi