A Blind Man Drove a Car at Daytona International Speedway

Illustration for article titled A Blind Man Drove a Car at Daytona International Speedway

Mark Riccobono is legally blind. But that doesn't stop him from trying to enjoy life. Today, thanks to tactile technology, he became the first blind man to drive around the track at Daytona International Speedway.

The National Federation for the Blind issued a challenge to see if anyone could come up with a solution to allow driving for the blind. A team at Virgina Tech figured it out, they've developed a system that includes the use of fancy gloves that provide tactile feedback for the driver to read his surroundings.

Riccobono drove a custom equipped Ford Escape hybrid for several rounds and "successfully navigated the several turns of the road course but also avoided obstacles, some of which were stationary and some of which were thrown into his path at random from a van driving in front of him."


The technology is not all the way there yet (for real world use, at least) but the NFB is hopeful that one day the technology would be good enough to change public perceptions. As for Riccobono, he's enjoying the moment, he tweeted ""Hello, the blind made history today, What did you do today?" [NY Daily News]

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The seeing eye dog bravely kept up until the driver reached 42MPH, where the poor dogs legs finally gave out. Once the race was over, all that was recovered was his diamond studded collar.

Dear old Scruffy will be sorely missed.