Release Date: 
Monday, January 22, 2018
Chris Danielsen
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

NFB President Receives Automotive Innovation Award

Baltimore, Maryland (January 22, 2018): Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind, has received one of the inaugural Autos2050SM awards. The awards are being presented by the Auto Alliance and the Alliance for Transportation Innovation.

President Riccobono is among twelve state and national political leaders and automotive innovators who will be honored at a dinner and awards presentation in Washington, DC on January 24. The new awards and dinner are part of the larger Autos2050SM event.  

On October 25, 2017, the National Federation of the Blind and the Auto Alliance hosted a first-of-its-kind gathering of consumers with disabilities, auto representatives, ride-sharing providers, and policymakers. The purpose of the gathering was to discuss the advances, challenges, and path forward for autonomous vehicle development. It was a key step in the ongoing conversation about how autonomous vehicles can be developed and deployed safely, while considering the needs of the 57 million Americans with disabilities.

On January 29, 2011, President Riccobono became the first blind individual to operate a vehicle independently. He navigated a course at Daytona International Speedway as a demonstration of how technology can allow the blind to drive.

“As much as I appreciate the honor of this award, its significance is greater than recognizing the National Federation of the Blind,” President Riccobono said. “It is also a sign that leaders in the automobile industry recognize the importance of incorporating the input of the blind as the next generation of automotive technology is designed. This gives us hope that new autonomous vehicles will provide a level of mobility and independence that the blind have never experienced before, enhancing our ability to live the lives we want.”

"The Autos2050 Driving Innovation Awards are designed to honor those who have made significant contributions over the past year,” said Mitch Bainwol, president and CEO, Auto Alliance. “Mark and the NFB have been tireless and effective advocates for the needs of the entire disability community in the ongoing national debate around the development of autonomous vehicles.”