In a land where the automobile is the most prevalent way to get around, the inability to drive poses one of the biggest problems to blind people. Naturally the nation’s most active organization engaged in problem-solving is addressing the issue. As we come ever closer to putting cars that drive themselves on the road, the challenge for blind people is to ensure we can operate them and that the law of the land permits us to do so.
Recognizing our work, the Auto Alliance and the Alliance for Transportation Innovation presented President Riccobono with an award on January 24, 2018. Others recognized included members of Congress, a governor, and a state senator. Also noted for their work were individuals from a safety research consortium, a startup tech firm, a proving grounds pioneer, and a major automotive supplier. “It is important to spotlight the innovators and pioneers who are making future advancements a reality today. Their efforts and technologies have the potential to bring tremendous societal benefits—first and foremost greater motor vehicle safety, as well as greater mobility and reduced emissions,” said Mitch Bainwol, president and CEO, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.
In additional remarks, the organizations went on to say, “Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind, has served as a strong advocate for autonomous vehicles for the disability community. In October 2017, the National Federation of the Blind hosted a first-of-its-kind gathering of consumers with disabilities, auto representatives, ride-sharing providers, and policymakers to lay the groundwork for including accessibility in the development of promising new vehicle technologies in the early stages. The conference launched an ongoing conversation about how autonomous vehicles can be developed and deployed safely, while considering the needs of those 57 million Americans with disabilities.”