The year 2012 saw a blind Steve Mahan drive a self-driving car into the premises of a Taco Bell in a viral video. This video showcased the potential of the autonomous car technology, which could possible change a visually impaired person’s life. Mahan mentioned how amazing he felt he took sat behind a steering wheel for the first time in over 7 years.
Analysts in favor of the technology say that in addition to aiding the disabled, the self-driving cars are expected to aid people in doing a number of different tasks, while ensuring road safety.
However, vendors are worried that the automotive industry is currently not considering the requirements of the disabled while designing new models. In the future, this could mean that cars will be harder to access for them, as well as expensive.
In a study conducted by the University of Florida, visually impaired people are being tested for a software that could be installed in phones and cars to help them drive autonomously.
Van Etten, one of the test subjects, used this software and uttered a few complicated commands, and the software seems to have done its job efficiently.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Texas A&M University and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory also are working on accessibility issues for driverless vehicles for blind and other people with disabilities.