Seminar in Composition A blog for Annette Vee's section of Pitt's SC

7Feb/114

Blind Driver?

I recently came across a story on Fox News entitled, "Blind Drivers Race Around Daytona, Thanks to Robotic Car." The car was driven by a blind man, and he was able to dodge boxes and navigate his way around the track. To prove that the man was actually driving the boxes were thrown from a van, giving the driver only a few seconds to react. This amazing story shows that technology is advancing at a breathtaking rate.

This is truly and amazing form of technology, but is still in need of much more research. Do you believe we will see blind drivers on the road in our lifetime or is this one type of technology that is too good to be true? What are some of the benefits and dangerous of the blind being on the road? Can you think of any other technologies that when initially proposed were viewed as dangerous and unrealistic? Ultimately, do you think that technology is not yet advanced enough to safely navigate cars, and why?

Posted by thelastairbender

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  1. This was very interesting, it almost seems like science fiction. However, most technologies start this way, so I do not think it is impossible that there could be blind drivers on the road some time in the future. In fact, if researchers could develop this technology to match up to the safety of cars for sighted drivers, this would be a great boost for blind and other disabled individuals.

    However, the safety concerns of having blind drivers on the road are numerous. If the car’s system malfunctioned, a blind driver could cause a serious accident and injure himself or another driver. Additionally, sighted drivers who drive recklessly may pose dangers that the cars of blind drivers could not detect. For example, even though the blind drivers could maneuver around obstacles, can the cars adapt to slippery road conditions? Heavy traffic? Also, would driving laws have to change in anyway for blind drivers? If so, how would this be enforced?

    All in all, I think if researchers could perfect this technology, it would greatly improve the lives of blind people. However, both blind and sighted drivers would have to be prepared for inevitable malfunctions and shortcomings of the technology.

  2. Driving a car is not a right, its a privilege. This was the line that I got from every adult when I first started to learn how to drive a car. I think this meaning has a lot to it. Firstly, that driving a car should be taken seriously because someone’s life could be taken in the snap of a fingers if you are not being as alert as possible on the road. It also has the meaning, that earning the right to drive has to be earned by responsibility.

    As awesome as it would be for everyone, including blind people to have the privilege to drive a vehicle, I don’t necessarily think it is a good idea. Although they have come up with a new technology for blind people to be able to drive, it involves a high risk. This risk not only would affect blind people, but also everyone else on the roads including pedestrians and bikers. While driving, you have to be alert at all times from destination to destination, because you never know when you have to react quickly to a sudden change in the road or a pedestrian crossing the street. Although this technology has allowed the blind driver to dodge boxes, I don’t think the blind driver would be able to dodge people and other cars if given the chance to drive on a normal road.

    This technology would have to come a lot further in research until we would see this technology in our lifetime, let alone anyone’s lifetime. Different car companies have come out with technologies for cars to park themselves and etc, which in my opinion aren’t necessarily safe either because there could be any given glitch in the technology that would cause a horrible wreck. Hence, I do not believe that researchers will ever be able to safely navigate cars with advanced technologies , especially considering that car wrecks are a number 1 killer in today’s world. Granted this technology would give a handicapped person the privilege to have the chance to be on the roads with other drivers, there is too much known risk for this technology to ever become a technology we see used in our society. So the question then becomes do we risk the lives of so many other drivers and passengers to give everyone the “right” to drive?

  3. It seems to be “fair” and “equal” to give equal opportunity to all people, regardless of the situation. Many times, a person overcoming a disability can be one of the most inspiring things in life. However, I do not think that people with disabilities that will exclude them from the pool of licensed individuals is a good idea. Technologies have come a long way, and a blind driver might be more alert than a drunk or sleepy driver, but they would be no match for an aware and alert driver. In the article, it says that “Riccobono reached speeds of more than 25 mph and did not hit a single box”

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/02/07/driving-blind-daytona-thanks-robotic-cars/#ixzz1DVXLdy2x

    That is very exciting, for blind people to accurately drive at speeds of 25 mph. I think this is a great starting point, but it does not seem to hold a lot of promise. Driving is very reaction oriented. Elderly people who still have their license sometimes have a hard time reacting in an emergency!
    The way the signals are transmitted, people would have to have especially fine sensory skills. The signals are transmitted through the seat to the driver- what if they were too short or had damaged nerves? Also, at a rate of 60 or 70 mph, the technology would have to develop considerably. A malfunction would be devastating. I think that the risks are too high, and that while it is awesome to imagine people with disabilities living a normal life, too many slight errors could cause accidents.

  4. I believe that driving is a priviledge and therefore everyone should not be allowed to be able to drive. When I went ot get my permit test the first thing they did was check my vision to make sure i could see well enough to drive. I know from experience that if you do not pass this part of the test you cannot get a permit. Because of this, I dont think blind people should be allowed to drive because seeing is a vital part of avoiding possible dangers. While this is an extremely advanced technology I do not believe it is safe enough to put people on the road that cannot see. Driving is a very dangerous task and should not be considered lightly because it does have the ability to kill people.


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