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Driverless cars give hope to blind - are automakers onboard?

By: JASON DEAREN, Associated Press
April 13, 2018 Updated: April 13, 2018 at 12:03 am
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photo - This March 7, 2018 photo shows University of Florida researcher Julian Brinkley as he starts a program meant to help blind people interact with self-driving cars in Ocala, Fla. Six years after a video went viral of a blind man going through a drive thru in a self-driving car, advocates for visually impaired people worry the industry is leaving them behind as they develop the cars of the future. So prominent groups are turning to university researchers like Brinkley to help build systems that will unlock the potential of autonomous cars' for the blind. (AP Photo/Jason Dearen)
This March 7, 2018 photo shows University of Florida researcher Julian Brinkley as he starts a program meant to help blind people interact with self-driving cars in Ocala, Fla. Six years after a video went viral of a blind man going through a drive thru in a self-driving car, advocates for visually impaired people worry the industry is leaving them behind as they develop the cars of the future. So prominent groups are turning to university researchers like Brinkley to help build systems that will unlock the potential of autonomous cars' for the blind. (AP Photo/Jason Dearen) 

OCALA, Fla. (AP) — Advocates for visually impaired people worry that the self-driving-car industry is leaving them behind as it develops autos of the future.

To make up for that, they're turning to university researchers to help build systems to unlock the potential of autonomous cars for the blind.

In a University of Florida study, blind people are using experimental software that can be easily installed on tablet computers, in cars, and on peoples' phones.

University of Florida researcher Julian Brinkley developed the program, which he named "Atlas."

Brinkley says the focus is helping the visually impaired verify they are on the right route while in transit, through a voice that calls out landmarks and street names.

The program also helps people navigate from the car to their destination once they arrive.

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