[Nfbnet-members-list] National Federation of the Blind & Automakers Host Conference on the Promise of Autonomous Vehicles and the Disability Community

National Federation of the Blind webmaster at nfb.org
Fri Oct 27 01:54:22 UTC 2017

For Immediate 


Chris Danielsen

Director of Public Relations

National Federation of the Blind

(410) 659-9314, extension 2330

(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

<mailto:cdanielsen at nfb.org>cdanielsen at nfb.org

Scott Hall

Director of Communications & Public Affairs

Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers


shall at autoalliance.org

National Federation of the Blind and Automakers 
Host Conference on the Promise of Autonomous 
Vehicles and the Disability Community

Diverse group of attendees focus on accessibility 
of autonomous vehicles for the disabled

Baltimore, MD – Yesterday the National Federation 
of the Blind (NFB) and the Alliance of Automobile 
Manufacturers (“Auto Alliance”) hosted a 
conference titled “The Promise: Autonomous 
Vehicles and the Disability Community”. The event 
was hosted at NFB’s Jernigan Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.

The conference brought together representatives 
from government, the automotive industry and 
advocates for the disabled to discuss the 
advances, challenges, and path forward for autonomous vehicle development.

“Historically, accessibility has been a costly 
post-purchase vehicle modification for most 
people with disabilities, and nonexistent for the 
blind,” said Mark Riccobono, President of the 
National Federation of the Blind. “The National 
Federation of the Blind was therefore pleased to 
co-host this first-of-its-kind gathering of 
disabled consumers, automotive industry 
representatives, ride-sharing providers, and 
policymakers, laying the groundwork for 
accessibility to be included in the development 
of promising new vehicle technologies rather than 
as an afterthought. Discussion between industry 
and disabled consumers has already had a positive 
impact on the Senate’s AV START legislation, and 
our continued work together will pave the way for 
autonomous vehicles to become tools that will 
truly enhance independence and opportunity for 
the blind and other disabled travelers.”

“Automakers have been developing self-driving 
technologies for years. We are motivated by the 
tremendous potential for enhanced safety for 
everyone and the opportunity to provide greater 
mobility freedom to people with disabilities and 
the elderly,” said Mitch Bainwol, President and 
CEO of the Auto Alliance. “Given the enormity of 
the social benefits, we are anxious to work with 
stakeholders and government leaders to develop 
the policy framework to realize these benefits as soon as we can.”

The conference was a key step in the ongoing 
conversation about how autonomous vehicles can be 
developed and deployed safely, while considering 
the needs of those 57 million Americans with disabilities.

Autonomous vehicles offer disabled Americans 
opportunities for increased mobility and 
independence, as well as reliable transportation 
that could vastly increase employment opportunities.

The National Federation of the Blind and Auto 
Alliance urge Congress, the Administration, and 
original equipment manufacturers alike to 
consider the needs of the disabled as they 
continue to develop the laws, regulations, and 
technology that will bring autonomous vehicles to the masses.

The day’s speakers included representatives of 
the disability community (including the National 
Association of the Deaf, National Federation of 
the Blind, Paralyzed Veterans of America, 
American Association of People with Disabilities, 
United Spinal Association, American Council of 
the Blind, and National Down Syndrome Society); 
the automotive industry (including General 
Motors, Audi of America, Daimler North America, 
and Volvo Car Group); government (including 
representatives from the office of Sen. Gary 
Peters, D-Mich., the U.S. Department of Labor, 
and the National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration) and other stakeholders (including 
representatives from Uber and Securing America’s Future Energy).


About the National Federation of the Blind

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), 
headquartered in Baltimore, is the oldest and 
largest nationwide organization of blind 
Americans. Founded in 1940, the NFB consists of 
affiliates, chapters, and divisions in the fifty 
states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico. The NFB 
defends the rights of blind people of all ages 
and provides information and support to families 
with blind children, older Americans who are 
losing vision, and more. We believe in the hopes 
and dreams of blind people and work together to 
transform them into reality. Learn more about our 
many programs and initiatives at 

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National Federation of the Blind | 200 E Wells 
Street | Baltimore, MD 21230 | (410) 659-9314
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Baltimore, MD 21230
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