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The TAP Series Blog

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Tech Thursday - Self- Driving Taxi for the Blind.

Self- Driving Taxi for the Blind.

The taxi service company, Lyft, has begun testing self-driving cars with the aim to help the blind and those who have impaired vision to drive. The cars include paper tactile graphics with braille describing what makes the car autonomous, and how the self-driving tech works along with a map of the route to the destination. The company has been testing the self-driving cars, or what they call "robo-taxis" for a while, however, they only began demonstrating these tests at the National Federation of the Blind's annual convention in Las Vegas. There, blind passengers actually got to ride the car and the car successfully brought them to their destination. The car proved to provide successful 50,000 rides with blind passengers.

This technology allows the visually impaired to maintain more what is called "mobility independence", in which the visually impaired no longer have to rely on someone else. The potential of the project is huge. "Going forward, as these vehicles go into more mainstream use, there will need to be additional non-visual real-time interfaces created so that blind people can locate the vehicle, follow its progress, and interact with its systems as needed," said Chris Danielson, a representative from the National Federation of the Blind. These new cars are the future for the visually impaired and are relatively affordable as well. They cost just as much as a typical Lyft ride.

As technology advances, the cars will hopefully become main stream to allow more mobile independence amongst the disabled. I think this sort of technology will be very useful and I hope it does become mainstream.