Braille Monitor               May 2023

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From a Dream to Really Riding in an Autonomous Vehicle

President Mark Riccobono and Executive Director of Blindness Initiatives Anil Lewis visited our partners at Waymo in San Francisco in March 2023. On the bright sunny day, their visit included a ride across town in an autonomous car, the Waymo One. Anil shared, "This is my first real autonomous experience, no one but Mark and I in the car…When it picked us up, it was like within a foot of the curb. It parked better than most people I know that drive. I think that this is really going to be a game changer.”

Through our partnership, blind people not only have something to gain from new technologies like Waymo’s, we also offer valuable perspectives to contribute. Including us from the beginning helps make the experience better for everyone. The National Federation of the Blind and Waymo are partnering to include the feedback and suggestions of people who are blind in the development of Waymo’s autonomous driving technology. Through its collaboration with us, Waymo has added accessibility features that let people receive added navigation details about their trip via audio, find their vehicle by sound, and more. President Riccobono shared, "Waymo, in particular, understands and values the fact that we have something to contribute and Waymo has something to contribute, and that makes it a true partnership.”

In this close-up photo, Mark and Anil smile joyfully as they lean toward the Waymo One vehicle. The Waymo One is a four-door, white, all-electric Jaguar I-PACE SUV that is equipped with cameras and sensors.
In this photo, Mark and Anil stand smiling in front of the front passenger door of the four-door, white Waymo One vehicle. Their long white canes are crossed and President Riccobono is holding the National Federation of the Blind membership coin.

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