Blind Drivers Would Fit Right in With Texting Drivers

Blind youth test drive new vehicle

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Several blind youth have test driven a new high-tech vehicle designed by Virginia Tech engineering students.

Twenty blind people took turns maneuvering the retrofitted dune buggy Friday in a parking lot at the University of Maryland. The test drive capped a National Federation for the Blind summer camp for 200 blind youth from across the country.

Virginia Tech was the only university to take on a 2004 challenge from the federation to build a vehicle that could let blind people to drive.

The buggy they designed that youth tested Friday uses a laser sensor to figure out the road ahead. A special vibrating vest worn by drivers communicates speed and warns when to stop. And a headset relays voice commands signaling which way to turn.

How about letting cell-phone addicts test drive it?

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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