It is closer than you think, a car is being worked on for the blind which will let them drive and use it unassisted by another human being. Researchers at Virginia Tech and have partnered with the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) to work on a car for the blind.
Infact the research and development has been going on for a while now and there is a scheduled upcoming demonstration of the prototype vehicle equipped with the new technology that allows a blind person to operate the vehicle independently.
The prototype is a highly customized Ford Escape which has non-visual interface technology. The public demonstration is part of a pre-race activity and will be held at the 2011 Rolex 24 At Daytona on January 29, 2011.
It gets more exciting because the public demonstration will actually involve a blind person who will drive the prototye on a course and will simulate a typical driving experience.
NFB had organized a “Blind Driver Challenge” three years ago to develop a vehicle that can be driven by a blind person. The challenge was to develop a non-visual interfaces that would allow a blind person to actually make driving decisions.
The non-visual interfaces works by using sensors that allow a blind driver to maneuver the car based on information transmitted to the driver about his or her surroundings. The information includes factors such as whether or not another car or object is nearby, out in front or in an adjacent lane.
Car for the blind has been hard to imagine but scientists and students at Virginia Tech are making this a reality.
More updates as we get them!