Wednesday, February 16, 2011

From 'Wired': High-Tech Car Allows the Blind to Drive

A Ford Escape poking along at 25 mph isn’t usually the most exciting event on the track at the Daytona International Speedway. Consider that the driver is blind, however, and that slow-moving Ford is an example of how technology can grant autonomy.

Mark Riccobono, a blind executive at the National Federation of the Blind, handled the curves, avoided obstacles thrown in his path from a van ahead of him and then passed that van. He did it in a vehicle built by students using off-the-shelf technology.

“That was fun because nobody expected that we’d do that,” Riccobono said. “We kept exactly what we were going to do on the track, we held that close to the vest and even our members didn’t know that was going to happen.”

Although we’re a long way from the day ... Read more

At the Daytona International Speedway, Mark Riccobono prepares to drive the Blind Driver Challenge car known as BRIAN. Photo by Steven D. A. Mackay

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