More than one blind person has mentioned that being unable to drive is a real downside to blindness. Driving is freedom, it’s independence. It’s being able to get where you want, when you want, without anyone else involved.
But as most of us know, to be able to drive you need to be able to see: the road, the other drivers, the unexpected obstacles that inevitably crop up. Or have the means to hire your own driver. Either way, it takes driving off the road for many.
So Google has created a prototype car that drives itself. It has no steering wheel, brakes or accelerator pedal; it works with GPS and sensors. The car has only two seats and is meant for slow (25 mph) city driving, so it’s not for long distances, but good for just getting around town. If it works, it would be a boon for all kinds of people with mobility issues as well as vision impairment.
So far it’s seen 700,000 miles of testing, but that’s with back-up people monitoring it in case anything goes wrong. But Google’s goal is to get this on the road for real now, and over the next year manufacture 100 cars for volunteer drivers to test out.
You can see the full story about the self-driving car from Google here.