[nabs-l] Cars for the Blind

Peter Donahue pdonahue1 at sbcglobal.net
Fri Aug 6 16:37:01 UTC 2010

Good morning everyone,
    Let me say something right now before the nay-saying gets out-of-hand! I 
for one dreamed of the possibility of being able to drive a car as far back 
as 1968. I got very excited in 2000 when this initiative was announced when 
construction of the NFB Jernigan Institute began. It is wonderful to see 
this dream finally becoming a reality. When full realization of that dream 
has been achieved is still up in the air but we've begun developing the 
technology to make it possible for us to drive a vehicle independently. This 
is exciting and empowering!

    It means the difference between being able to live where you wish or 
having your choice of local being determined by the availability or lack of 
public transportation. It means being able to travel on your schedule and 
not those of transportation providers. It means not having to rely on others 
for transportation particularly on a South Texas scortcher like today.

    It also has the potential to open up job possibilities previously not 
thought possible for the blind. Some of us have all ready imagined this 
technology being married to that used by airplane pilots to permit a blind 
person to pilot their own aircraft. Hence the airplane analogy is valid as 
some of the technology being developed for the car interface for the blind 
is all ready used to pilot airplanes. Others have also invisioned blind 
persons working as taxi drivers, bus drivers, railroad engineers, etc. I 
call upon you to explore the possibilities rather than rehashing many of the 
so-called reasons and excuses of why this will not work or why the blind 
shouldn't drive. We're supposed to be imaginators so let's act like it! We 
all have a right to disagree but when those disagreements cross the line and 
result in the destruction of the dreams, desires, and aspirations of those 
who imagine a future full of possibilities someone is going to sound the 
alarm and say, "Enough!" Thanks for listening and contemplating.

Peter Donahue

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