Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-02-22



VIEWS Google car could help the blind
by Robert William Kingett

This article shared 3170 times since Mon May 6, 2013
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

If I want to go anywhere in Chicago Illinois my methods of transportation are very limited. For someone who's blind and has cerebral palsy, taking public transit is beyond difficult.

In order for me to go to the movies, on a date with a gorgeous guy, to interview someone for a journalistic endeavor, or to go to school, I have to pay $6 a day, $180 a month, or $2,190 a year to ride Chicago's Paratransit system. That isn't even a fraction of the costs for PACE to operate the Paratransit system. Why do I care though? I'm just a consumer.

I'm not just a consumer, I'm a blind journalist here in Chicago who's advocating for getting a law passed that would allow autonomous cars to drive on the streets of Illinois, breaking my dependence down to zero, and also saving the state billions of dollars on Paratransit cars. There's a solution to all of my independent transportation problems bundled with a nifty solution for state costs. That solution is what's commonly referred to as the Google car.

In September 2011 Google launched a car that automates the driving process. The Google driverless car is a project by Google that involves developing technology for driverless cars. The project is being led by Google engineer Sebastian Thrun, director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and co-inventor of Google Street View.

The Google car, operating on a wide array of technology found today such as GPS, maps, and high-speed cameras that spin at 360 degrees on the roof of the car to give a clear view of what's around it, has already proven that it can make the figure of 40,000 deaths due to car accidents disappear by driving safely and smartly using the combined technology. The system drives at the speed limit it has stored on its maps and maintains its distance from other vehicles using its system of sensors.

Illinois isn't on board with driverless cars yet but other states are, reducing their cost of Paratransit and public transportation significantly. The U.S. state of Nevada passed a law on June 29, 2011 permitting the operation of driverless cars in Nevada. The Nevada law went into effect on March 1, 2012, and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles issued the first license for a self-driven car in May 2012. The license was issued to a Toyota Prius modified with Google's experimental driverless technology. Since then, no accidents have occurred and money did not have to go into paying for public transportation, saving the state a lot of dollars.

Nevada isn't the only state jumping on the bandwagon that will save dollars. As of April 2012, Florida became the second state to allow driverless cars on public roads. California became the third state to legalize the use of self-driven cars as of September 2012

Four U.S. states have passed laws permitting driverless cars as of September 2012: Nevada, Florida, Texas, and California. I want to have that same freedom here as well. Deciding to really dig around and see just how foxy this car was, and the roads that it traversed, I did some heavy duty searching online to find out what the testing process was for these cars.

The project team has equipped a test fleet of at least 10 vehicles, consisting of six Toyota Prius vehicles, an Audi TT, and three Lexus RX450hs, including a blind driver, Steve Martin, who, for once, did not have to call Paratransit to take him to pick up his dry-cleaning. The car has traversed San Francisco's Lombard Street, famed for its steep hairpin turns, and through city traffic. The vehicles have driven over the Golden Gate Bridge and on the Pacific Coast Highway, and have circled Lake Tahoe.

In August 2012, the team announced that they have completed more than 300,000 autonomous-driving miles (500,000 km) accident-free, and they typically have about a dozen cars on the road at any given time.

There are many financial benefits that will play out when self-driving cars are allowed here in Illinois. Mainly for the blind and the visually impaired. If this car were allowed to drive on the streets there would be less need for Paratransit, allowing that money to be spent elsewhere to enhance things in need such as education costs, scholarships, and many other venues.

It would significantly enhance the lives of every other blind person in Illinois, allowing us to have more stable job opportunities because we wouldn't have to limit ourselves closer to home, thus allowing us to give back in a larger fashion. Many blind people have to stay rooted to a certain job location, close to their homes, because of the barrier of time that Paratransit places, often showing up early or very late to events.

If there's one thing that I truly see when I step outside and watch independent sighted people fly by me in a dodge, or a Honda on a hot day or a freezing evening, I see that they are truly free as a bird and can zip anywhere that their engine can take them. Even though this car is a long way off from an affordable cost, the benefits for the state will be immediate the day this car becomes globally available. Fewer roads would need construction because the cars obey every law of the rode automatically.

Riding Paratransit for $6 a day, $180 a month, and $2,190 a year is a helpful accommodation but I want to have the chance to use my $6 a day, $180 a month and $2,190 a year go toward something else.

Illinois has given me a solid bus system that, unfortunately, I can't use, a competent transportation system that gets me places, but I want to push Illinois to give blind people a chance to give our $2,190 a year back to the community, give us the chance to take jobs that are farther away from our homes, or even allow us to drive to never before seen places that Paratransit can't go. Sighted people have that advantage and luxury. We should as well.

The reward, for everyone, won't happen overnight but the wings of positive repercussion will definitely carry our state to new heights of financial gain, and inclusion for the blind and otherwise disabled. Rewards will come, in big or small increments. They may just zip by us on our way to work while eating a taco, letting change drive itself.

This article shared 3170 times since Mon May 6, 2013
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Gay News

Editorial: In praise of Drag Story Hour 2023-03-14
- Drag Story Hours have really come to the fore in our political consciousness in the last few years, as the radical right has strategically targeted events raising the visibility of individuals who are gender-nonconforming, transgender or ...

Gay News

VIEWPOINT The scrutiny of Kamala Harris 2023-03-07
- President Biden had a cancerous lesion successfully removed from his chest last month, which was just now reported. At 80, questions continue about Biden's fitness to serve a second term. But questions also abound concerning Vice ...

Gay News

Patriarch Kirill: Darth Putin's Altar Boy 2023-03-01
- Christianity—based on the person and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, who preached love as the most important expression of religion—has often been co-opted and distorted to support wars, persecutions and ...

Gay News

Opinion: LGBTQ+ candidates are there as Chicago politics prepare to shift 2023-02-08
- The exhausting Chicago election cycle continues. Once the midterm and gubernatorial races were resolved this past November, the Windy City was already midstream in campaigning for the 2023 municipal elections Feb. 28 (with runoffs April 4). ...

Gay News

VIEWPOINT The FBI, Loaves of Bread, Corruption, and Reform 2023-01-25
- When I was 13 years old I used to ride shot gun with my uncle A. on his Italian bread truck deliveries. My job was to enter the store with him and remove the old, stale loaves of bread while he ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Democrats and trans issues, political wins, gay bars, HIV drug 2023-01-08
- Republicans and Democrats differ widely in their views on gender identity and transgender issues—but there are notable differences among Democrats, too, especially by race and ethnicity, according to Pew Research. Overall, 60% of U.S. adults say ...

Gay News

Letter to the Editor: Pope Benedict XVI passes away 2023-01-02
- The Rainbow Sash Movement mourns the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on Dec. 31 in the Vatican. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, known most recently as the pontiff who renounced the papacy—but who was situated squarely ...

Gay News

VIEWPOINT It's The End...again and again and again ... 2023-01-01
- Jesus thought the end of the world would occur during his lifetime.* As Jesus hanged dying on the cross, he had to deal with the fact that the world had not ended. Paul thought he understood ...

Gay News

Dignity USA: LGBTQ+ Catholics recall Pope Benedict XVI's reign as causing LGBTQ+s tremendous damage 2022-12-31
-- From a press release - Dec. 31, 2022. The passing of former Pope Benedict XVI "marks what is, hopefully, the end of a long, painful era for LGBTQIA+ Catholics, our families, and the entire church," said Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director of ...

Gay News

OPINION Remember the youngest victims of anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination 2022-12-19
- On Dec. 13, the Ohio State Board of Education voted 10-7 in favor of a non-binding resolution opposing proposed changes to the federal government's Title IX protecting LGBTQ+ students. It was just one more blow for ...

Gay News

Respect for Marriage Act passage important step but not equity says LGBTQIA+/ally Catholic group 2022-12-09
-- From a press release - Dec. 8, 2022. DignityUSA, the nation's foremost organization of Catholics working for justice, equality, and full inclusion of LGBTQIA+ people in our church and society, is pleased that both houses of Congress have now passed the ...

Gay News

VIEWPOINT What are the most banned books: take a guess 2022-11-18
- The Latin word for book is liber. It is also the Latin word for "free," as in not a slave but a person who enjoys freedom (liberty). The word library means a home for books, a place of liberation, a sacred ...

Gay News

VIEWPOINT The geopolitics of being Brittney Griner 2022-11-18
- WNBA All-Star Brittney Griner was arrested a week before Russia invaded Ukraine. On Feb. 17, the Russian Federal Customs Service detained Griner at Sheremetyevo International Airport for allegedly transporting cannabis-derived ...

Gay News

GUEST EDITORIAL The Workers' Rights Amendment is a vote for equality 2022-11-01
- It is the American Dream: Work hard and you can achieve a middle-class life. This narrative is a broken bargain for too many in today's workforce. A far worse bargain exists for the LGBTQ+ community, especially ...

Gay News

VIEWPOINT The cults of Jesus, Putin and Trump 2022-10-21
- Originalist Christian nationalism. They say politics makes strange bedfellows. There is none stranger than the curious linking of Jesus to the cults of Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump in the faith and politics of an alarming ...


Copyright © 2023 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.