Autonomous vehicles should benefit those with disabilities, but progress remains slow

Some companies are further along than others. Alphabet’s Waymo is engaged with collaborators — including the Foundation for Senior Living in Phoenix and the Foundation for Blind Children — in an effort to ensure its vehicles remain accessible. Cruise has similarly partnered with the National Federation of the Blind, the American Council of the Blind, Lighthouse for the Blind, and local communities to conduct usability studies and solicit feedback. Still, experts say there’s more to be done as the autonomous vehicle horizon extends well into the future.

“Autonomous vehicles hold incredible promise for people with disabilities to enjoy the enormous freedom that most adults have to live spontaneously and to be independent travelers,” Sheryl Gross-Glaser, director of the nonprofit Community Transportation Association of America, told VentureBeat. “But just as we need to enable someone with a walker or wheelchair to enter and exit a vehicle, we need redundant technologies that serve people with auditory or visual impairments and technologies and designs that assist people with cognitive disabilities…