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Mitsubishi Develops AI Suitcase to Assist the Visually Impaired

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Suitcases Visually Impaired AI suitcase
Photo: Dirk Ingo Franke

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, IBM Japan, Ltd., Shimizu Corporation, OMRON Corporation, and Alps Alpine Co. Ltd. have come together to create the Consortium for Advanced Assistive Mobility Platform. This association is working to make transportation more accessible for the visibly impaired with an AI suitcase.

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What the consortium aims to achieve with the AI suitcase

The Japanese Ophthalmological Society conducted a recent survey, which revealed that approximately 1.64 million people have visual impairments in Japan alone. Of these individuals, 188,000 are completely blind. Additional research also indicates that there will be triple the number of people that are visually impaired by 2050.

The visually impaired often have to face a number of difficulties, including being unable to travel more independently. Commuting to work or school can be challenging, as people with visual impairments may not be able to easily check signs, walk on a busy street or scan a map.

To help make travel more convenient for the visually impaired, the Consortium for Advanced Assistive Mobility Platform is in the process of making an integrated technological solution, referred to as an AI suitcase. The purpose of the AI suitcase is to help those that are visibly impaired reach their destinations independently.

Someone who is visually impaired can conveniently carry around the AI suitcase, which includes a navigation robot and a wearable device. Using map data and the individual’s location data, the suitcase can inform the individual where to go and what businesses are nearby via speech.

Before the AI suitcase can be released, the companies in the consortium need to run pilot experiments. The consortium will be working with Carnegie Mellon University, as well as other universities and organizations to create innovative accessibility technologies.

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The role that Mitsubishi is taking on within the consortium is to provide the association with technologies and advice, based on its vehicle development knowledge, while the AI suitcase is being developed.