Researchers at Virginia Tech are teaming with the National Federation of the Blind to build two Ford Escape test vehicles designed specifically for visually-impaired drivers. After building a small buggy last year equipped with an audio steering wheel and various other "non-visual interfaces," the team decided to take a stab at going full-size. Drivers will use a vibrating vest and gloves, as well as a tablet-type device that shoots puffs of compressed air to represent the road course.
If you're skeptical about allowing the blind to drive, you're not alone. Researchers say the end goal of the project isn't to start a blind-driving movement, but to explore and further develop blind-interface technology. The work could lead to innovations that could in turn be applied to other aspects of visually-impaired life.
\Virginia Tech's Ford Escape test vehicles will head to the Daytona International Speedway next January, where they're scheduled to put on a full demonstration. Hit the jump to see a quick video on the Blind Driver Challenge.