[nfbmi-talk] pr congressman mica

joe harcz Comcast joeharcz at comcast.net
Thu Jan 27 08:18:51 CST 2011

Congressman Mica to Participate in NFB Blind Driver Challenge™

WASHINGTON, Jan. 27, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Federation of the Blind announced today that Congressman John Mica, who represents Florida's
Seventh Congressional District and chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, will participate in the demonstration of a vehicle that
can be driven by the blind.  The Congressman will be present along with NFB officials and other dignitaries when a modified Ford Escape equipped with nonvisual
technology allowing a blind person to drive it independently is demonstrated as part of pre-race activities leading up to the Rolex 24 at the Daytona International
Speedway on January 29.  Congressman Mica will drive the vehicle onto the course and present the keys to a blind driver, who will then drive the road course

Congressman Mica said: "I am pleased to participate in this historic moment, which will shatter misconceptions about blind citizens and show the world exciting
new technologies that will enhance the quality of living for many Americans.  I have no doubt that this event is a milestone in revolutionary technological
change that will dramatically improve transportation and safety in the twenty-first century."

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: "We are extremely pleased that Congressman Mica is joining us for this historic
occasion.  It is fitting that the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will participate in the demonstration of technology
that will ultimately benefit sighted drivers as well as the blind."

The National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute—the only research and training facility on blindness operated by the blind—has challenged universities,
technology developers, and other interested innovators to establish NFB Blind Driver Challenge™ (BDC) teams, in collaboration with the NFB, to build interface
technologies that will empower blind people to drive a car independently.  The purpose of the NFB Blind Driver Challenge™ is to stimulate the development
of nonvisual interface technology.  The Virginia Tech/TORC team, under the direction of Dr. Dennis Hong, Director of the Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory
at Virginia Tech., is the only team that has accepted the challenge.  The team is currently working with the National Federation of the Blind on the second-generation
prototype vehicle to integrate new and improved versions of the first-generation nonvisual interface technologies into a Ford Escape.

For more information about the NFB, please visit
For our digital news release about the Blind Driver Challenge™ and the debut of the BDC car at the Rolex 24, including audio and video clips for television
and radio, please visit

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