NBC Today show visits Blacksburg to showcase blind driver car
March 9, 2011
Montgomery County, Virginia - The NBC Today show recently visited our area to shoot a segment on a Blind Driver Challenge vehicle developed by Virginia Tech and TORC, a Blacksburg-based company specializing in the research and development of modular unmanned vehicle technologies.
The segment, "Hope in sight for blind drivers," aired this past Sunday morning and featured a demonstration of the vehicle on the Virginia Smart Road, a state-of-the art research road managed by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, in Blacksburg.
The National Federation of the Blind's (NFB) Blind Driver Challenge was initially taken on by Dr. Dennis Hong and the Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory (RoMeLa) at Virginia Tech, which successfully demonstrated a prototype blind-drivable dune buggy last May. The following month RoMeLa partnered with TORC to develop the next generation of NFB Blind Driver Challenge vehicles.
On January 29, 2011 a visually impaired man successfully navigated a 1.5 mile road course at Daytona International Speedway using a Ford Escape equipped with the nonvisual technologies developed by TORC and RoMeLa. This historic event marked the first time a blind driver had ever successfully completed a road course without the assistance of a sighted person.
Disclaimer: The views contained in this video are not necessarily those held by Montgomery County, Virginia or the staff of the Department of Economic Development.