Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering Department
BS in Industrial Engineering
Karen R. Bangs
This senior project aims to provide blind persons with the ability to effectively experience driving. This report includes the project background, literature review, designs, methodologies, results, and conclusions with project management, human factors engineering, and electronic manufacturing focuses. Other universities and professionals have accepted the Blind Driver Challenge presented by the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) or studied systems to improve vehicle feedback. The Virginia Tech vehicle, named "Odin", includes tactile and audio interfaces in order to relay information to a blind driver about vehicle heading and speed. The QFD results reveal that the amount of available information from the feedback systems ranks the most important aspect of this project's designs. The QFD slso shows the importance of both speed and acceleration. The final feedback designs of the vibrating vest, steering wheel, and audio provide commands, statuses, and speed updates. The programs packaged with the SICK LIDAR sensor as well as LabVIEW will serve to accomplish the necessary programming. This project contains two expensive items that push its total cost fairly high, the dune buggy and the laser scanner. Considering the over 1000 feet of electrical wire, electrical safety signifies a very large safety concern. Innovative sensor and tactile feedback technology provide the backbone for this advancement for the visually impaired.