Following the completion of last year’s design, multiple demonstrations occurred in May of 2009. Two members of the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute, Wes Majerus and Mark Riccobono came to Virginia Tech and were the first completely blind from birth drivers of the Virginia Tech Blind Driver Challenge vehicle. Both of the drivers successfully used the Blind Driver Challenge system to navigate their way through a closed course defined by traffic cones. The Virginia Tech Blind Driver Challenge Team participated in the National Federation of the Blind Youth Slam which is a bi-annual weeklong program over the summer where 200 blind or low vision high school students come to a university and participate in a chosen track based on engineering, science, technology, and math. The purpose of the Youth Slam is to encourage and inspire blind youth to pursue technical careers that are often falsely believed to be impossible for the blind. over twenty students and mentors participated in the Blind Driver Track at the Youth Slam and got the chance to get behind the wheel of the Blind Driver Challenge vehicle. This was the best experience of the entire week because the students and mentors were truly appreciative and excited to drive either for their first time, or for the first time in many years. Visit the NFB website for more details at www.nfb.org.
Sensors: Hokuyo UTM-30LX
Onboard Computer: National Instruments CompactRIO