Thursday, 28 July 2011

For the first time Blind people can drive


Many will believe that driving is an activity solely reserved for those who can see. Driving of blind person independently was thought to be an impossible task .Until now; Dennis Hong made a car that a blind person can drive freely and independently.

Dr.Hong worked on a project DARPA Urban Challenge where they secured third position by building a car that can drive itself. It was a simply a robotic car. But the problem with this car was that it was just like an elevator. You just press the button and it takes you to your destination.
So, their idea of putting a blind man into the Robot car was cancelled, as they wanted to build a car that a blind person can drive independently.

So, they invited dozens of blind youth to drive their prototype car. The prototype car was just the start; it was made for controlled environment. But, in real life the road is much complex place than a racetrack. One has to measure the oncoming vehicle, and the vehicle behind them. They have to look for the pedestrians and for any kind of sudden decision. For people with eyes it doesn’t seem to be heard task, but for a blind person it seems rather impossible.
So, they built it.

prototype car for blind
It is a very complex system but Dr.Hong simplifies it Like PERCEPTION  COMPUTATION-NON VISUAL INTERFACE. It is obvious that a blind person can't perceive the outer environment, so, they use inertial measuring instrument that can measure acceleration, a GPS unit. They used 2 cameras to measure the width of the road, laser scanner to scan the environment of oncoming traffic and pedestrians. Then these vast amount of data is send into the computer and then the computer sent this data to the driver and this computer also suggests the safest driving instruction. But it was not fully a freedom. But the main problem remain, “how can we send these information to a person who can't see….”

For that they built lots of non-visual user interfaces to communicate with visually impaired driver. They built a 3D sound system, vibrating vests, leg stripe etc.

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