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U.S. partnership brings self-driving technology to the blind

Posted: 11 July 2019 | | No comments yet

Self-driving cars in the Lyft app provide another way for blind travellers to get around reliably without needing to own a car.

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Lyft, Aptiv and the National Federation of the Blind have partnered to bring self-driving technology to the blind and low vision rider community.

The partnership will see the self-driving technology in Aptiv vehicles being available to blind users of the Lyft app.

Lyft has also worked alongside LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired to create Braille guides for self-driving riders. These materials include a Braille map of the self-driving route riders will travel on, as well as a diagram of Aptiv’s self-driving vehicle. 

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“Autonomous vehicles have the potential to provide a level of mobility and independence that blind people have never experienced, enhancing our ability to live the lives we want,” said Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind.

“We are pleased to collaborate with Lyft and Aptiv, companies that recognise the importance of incorporating input from the blind so that driving will be accessible to all. This demonstration will allow future blind drivers to experience and begin providing feedback about this technology, paving the way for the development of a non-visual user interface and other inclusive design elements.”

Over the past two years, Lyft has worked closely with the National Federation of the Blind to ensure rideshare is accessible to many blind and low vision riders, to increase awareness of blind passengers’ rights, to implement effective and inclusive public policies, and expand transportation options for these communities. Improvements have been made to the Lyft app, aimed at making it more accessible to blind passengers, while Lyft’s service animal policy has been updated, with clearer instructions being given to Lyft drivers.

Over over 50,000 rides were provided with Aptiv in Las Vegas between May 2018-19, making Lyft and Aptiv the largest commercial self-driving programme in the U.S..

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