Blind Driver Challenge
|Blind Driver Challenge|
|Principal Investigator||Dr. Dennis Hong|
|Onboard Computer||National Instruments CompactRIO|
The Blind Driver Challenge was created in response to an initiative by the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute to create a vehicle that a blind person could independently operate. Our team of twelve seniors makes every effort to design, build, test, and implement numerous non-visual driver interfaces onto a vehicle platform that would achieve this goal. Throughout the design process, the team recognizes the philosophy of the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute to “revolutionize attitudes about blindness and promote independence”. Our team hopes to create a vehicle that can increase the independence of the blind as well as work to break society’s stereotypes and create a path of technology to promote the capabilities of the blind.
Please visit our website here: Blind Driver Challenge
Goals and Objectives
A top priority for this year’s BDC Team is to increase the robustness of the current system to maximize driver safety. Thus, the team is working to improve the abilities of the system’s three main hardware components—the sensors, the audio and steering angle interfaces, and the tactile vest. Furthermore, the software component of the system must be developed to process data collected from the sensors into a more useful format that can be conveyed via the interface systems. The team plans to alter the click wheel to make it more robust, or to design a new way to communicate steering angle to the driver and reduce subjectivity within our system. Two such systems under consideration include the Drive Grip and the Refreshable Tactile Mapping System, each of which is discussed in further detail in their respective sections. The final deliverable for this semester is to have a blind person drive through a defined course of traffic cones on a flat, level road with the improved system.
The long-term goal for the BDC Team would be to implement the BDC system onto a new Ford Escape Hybrid vehicle designed by TORC Technologies. The team would create the vehicle so that numerous blind drivers could drive from Baltimore, MD to Orlando, FL in May 2011 for the National Federation of the Blind’s National Convention with intermittent stops for fundraising events and media showings. This event will increase the awareness of blind drivers across the country and work to break stereotypes of the abilities of the blind.
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