Autonomous vehicle technology promises a vast array of benefits, including numerous advantages for the visually impaired. Now, General Motors’ autonomous vehicle subsidiary, Cruise, is raising awareness by sponsoring Dan Parker in the 2021 Blind Driver Challenge.
The 2021 Blind Driver Challenge is put on by National Federation of the Blind (NFB) as a means of bringing attention to the achievements of blind people and to work to break down barriers in mobility. This year’s Challenge puts Parker, who lost his sight in 2012, behind the wheel of his custom-built 2008 Chevy Corvette race car. Parker seeks to set a new Guinness World Record for the “Fastest Speed for a Car Driven Blindfolded,” with the current record set at 200.5 mph by Mike Newton from the U.K.
Cruise will sponsor Parker in the event. Based out of San Francisco, California, Cruise develops autonomous vehicle technology with the aim of launching a fleet of driverless ride-sharing taxis. Cruise revealed its first production-ready robotaxi, Cruise Origin, in January of 2020, and has tested its driverless cars on the city streets of San Francisco.
“The future of autonomous vehicles is making the world more accessible for blind drivers like Dan, who want to be able to get around in the world on their own terms,” said Cruise’s Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and Social Impact, Rob Grant. “Transportation remains one of the areas where blind Americans face the greatest obstacles to participation, and Cruise’s mission is to transform the problems in our current transportation system that aren’t accessible or inclusive by creating new opportunities for all. We’re excited to continue our important work with the National Federation of the Blind and support Dan Parker in this incredible feat to push the boundaries of what’s possible.”
Source: National Federation of the Blind