Blind man drives tech laden Ford Escape around race track alone

Jan 31, 2011
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Blind man drives tech laden Ford Escape around race track alone

The National Federation for the Blind has announced that a blind man has driven a tech enhanced Ford Escape Hybrid around the famous Daytona International Speedway on the 1.5-mile road course section without the assistance of a sighted person. The demonstration used a Ford Escape Hybrid vehicle and was part of the festivities leading up to the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

The driver of the Escape was Mark Anthony Riccobono. Riccobono navigated several turns on the track, avoided obstacles that were stationary and dynamic obstacles that were thrown into the road by a van driving in front of him. The driver was also able to pass the van without collision. The SUV that let him perform this feat was crammed full of technology.

The vehicle has a laser range finder to send into to a computer inside the car that updated a 3D map of the road in front of the vehicle. The details were sent to the driver to a set of vibrating gloves that were work to show the driver which way to turn. The seat had a vibrating strip to tell the driver when to speed up, slow down, or stop. The event was known as the NFB's Leadership in Blind Driver Challenge.


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