The Federal Highway’s Administration’s (FHWA’s) Exploratory Advanced Research (EAR) Program began research on "Intelligent Situation Awareness and Navigation Aid for Visually Impaired Persons" to develop an assistive system for blind and severely visually impaired citizens to navigate and travel independently. Phase I of the research explored and developed situation awareness and assistive navigation technologies to provide blind or visually impaired people with obstacle avoidance and intelligent wayfinding capabilities in indoor environments by enabling them to use wearable sensors such as cameras, three-dimensional orientation sensors, and pedometers. In Phase II, the researchers will extend the research to outdoor pedestrian environments to provide blind users with waypoint navigation, path planning, and advanced warning of special events, such as detours and hazards, through interaction with global positioning systems, geographic information systems, and intelligent transportation systems infrastructure.
|Figure 1: System Architecture for the FHWA Exploratory Advanced Research project.|
One of the Principle Investigators, Zhigang Zhu, for an FHWA Exploratory Advanced Research (EAR) Program sponsored-project on "Intelligent Situation Awareness and Navigation Aid for Visually Impaired Persons" was recognized. In May 2013 during the President's awards, The City College of New York presented Professor Zhu with the President’s Award for Excellence.
|Figure 2. Preliminary results of door detection and signage recognition using a wearable camera.|
Dr. Zhu serves as an advisory board member and has significantly contributed to the research, development, and education of this multidisciplinary research. Professor YingLi Tian is the principle investigator of the EAR project and Mohammed Yousuf of FHWA is the Project Director.
For more information about the research, contact Mohammed Yousuf, 202-493-3199, firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the EAR Program, contact David Kuehn, 202-493-3414, email@example.com.