As part of an autonomous taxi service, it is designed to assist people with vision and other disabilities.
Waymo, a subsidiary of Alphabet, wants to improve the accessibility of its autonomous vehicles. Earlier in August, the Alphabet subsidiary announced new purpose-built features developed on the occasion of its participation in the US Transportation Design Competition (DOT). Its aim was to create design solutions that enable people with physical, sensory and cognitive disabilities to use driverless vehicles to get to critical points such as health or work. The company has designed features that are included in the Waymo One driverless taxi service (available in Arizona and California) that assist people with vision and other disabilities.
Facilitating the access of people with disabilities to autonomous vehicles
Among the introduced functions, Waymo offers Vehicle ID, “a visual way for users to identify their assigned vehicle at close to midrange”. Concretely, this “Car ID” is displayed on the sensor dome of the vehicle on the roof while the vehicle is waiting at the pick-up point, indicating it is reserved for the passenger. Made up of two colored letters, the user can configure these letters and choose from a range of color options using the Waymo One app.
The subsidiary has also developed a feature that offers turn-by-turn navigation, providing information about the journey (expected arrival time, etc.) and navigation without having to switch between various apps. When enabled, this system guides the user to the vehicle or pickup location, using information about sidewalks, crosswalks, and other features to provide an optimal route. This function is complemented by a “compass” that guides people to the vehicle or pickup location and displays both distance and direction. “Turn-by-turn navigation is useful for general guidance to a destination, but lacks precision in guiding users to a specific location. Therefore, it loses its usefulness as users get closer to the vehicle.Explained Waymo.
Finally, the subsidiary offers a car sound that replaces the horn to help people, especially the blind and partially sighted, find their way to the vehicle. “Passers or other road users may think the horn is rude. Additionally, passengers expressed reluctance to use this feature to avoid attracting attention or unintentionally disturbing others.”, said Waymo. The company replaced it with an electric piano sound with repetitive melodic parts and cymbal beats. It plans to add more inclusive features for its passengers over time.
Source From: Google News