ASI - Agenzia Spaziale Italiana - Mission and Projects ASI - Agenzia Spaziale Italiana - Mission and Projects

NADIA project

Applications Supporting Disabled Persons

Satellite navigation technologies applied to individual mobility may contribute to the improvement of the quality of life and safety of people. Through research and innovation it is possible to promote the development of safe and reliable applications of satellite navigation enabling the mobility of persons impaired by sight, physical, cognitive and cultural disabilities.
Applications for disabled persons may be generally extended to persons requiring support when moving (e.g. old people, invalids).

 

In order to sustain the implementation of these applications and the extension and improvement of the services implied, the opportunity of employing the same in favour of a wide range of different users is to be highlighted.
The most challenging applications involve the blind. In Italy approximately 200,000 persons suffer from serious sight problems (60.000 of whom are completely blind) and most of them is over sixty years old. Many of them are unable to move autonomously and only 10% is able to move on their own in urban centres. For moving along routes not experienced before the shortsighted is usually forced to be accompanied by someone of his/her family which strongly reduces his/her indepedence.
Individual satellite navigation especially if applied to the blind, integrates the other instruments and measures traditionally employed for their mobility.

 

The project takes into account also psychological attitudes and behaviours of people to whom navigation services are addressed, by providing information which may be relevant for their sense of direction and leveraging the enhanced capacities of the other senses, i.e., hearing, smell, touch. The driving system will provide instructions which may be checked by the user who will feel less insecure and disoriented in unknown spaces. In areas particularly relevant for the users individual mobility services will allow the users to navigate with confidence. As a matter of fact the project provides for routes tailored on specific needs of users of different categories.

 

Following a successful result of the project, the development of routes favouring mobility in public structures such as University Campuses, railway stations, etc., is highly recommended with the involvement of users themselves. The implementation of these activities together with the extension of services to social tourism and spare time will probably generate new jobs in the category of users served.