Technology has been able to help blind people free up their lives by allowing them to do things they otherwise wouldn’t. Leading innovations in automated driving have also improved drastically and we look like we could be on the verge of blind people being able to drive their own cars.
Here at Speed of Sight we know a thing or two about blind driving; one of our co-founders does hold the blind land speed record after all. But the racetrack and the roads of the UK are two very different things.
Engineers from some of the best Universities around the world have been working for years on technology that will allow blind people to drive their own cars.
Most recently, the developing work on self-driving cars could be the clearer path to the future of blind driving as it opens up the possibility for all cars to drive autonomously, meaning every driver can sit back and relax and let the car itself do all the driving.
How do autonomous cars work? Well, so far the technology is there for GPS units and cameras to be able to correctly read the road ahead; including other vehicles and other hazards that could arise such as pedestrians crossing the road or animals running into traffic. Scanning laser range finders and inertial measurement units are used together already for blind drivers to create a representation of the landscape around them in order to direct a vehicle around obstacles.
In a number of blind driving challenges that have taken place, drivers used a vibrating seat called a SpeedStrip and gloves with vibrating motors called DriveGrip to inform the driver of what to do with the steering wheel and when to speed up and slow down.
You can experience a blind driving experience thanks to charity Speed of Sight.