Dedicated to Improving the Lives of Blind and Visually Impaired People

Designing Automated Vehicle Access for People with Visual Impairments

The US Department of Transportation announced 10 semifinalists in its automated vehicle Inclusive Design Challenge. “This competition seeks design solutions to enable independent use of AVs by people with disabilities to access jobs, healthcare, and other critical destinations.” The semifinalists, who together received $3 million to develop their proposed ideas into prototypes, include Boston University for OpenGuide: A Scalable Human-Like Guidance System for Visually Impaired Travelers, “which can be used to train machine-learning models to provide door-to-car-to-door assistance for a person with visual impairments” and the University of Maine for Autonomous Vehicle Assistant (Ava) “an innovative ride-hailing and localization smartphone application designed to seamlessly assist passengers with visual impairment and older adults during pre-journey planning, travel to pick-up locations, and vehicle entry.”