BigDataService 2017
Conference paper

CENSE: A cognitive navigation system for people with special needs

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Mass Transportation provides people with access to education, employment and places in the community. However, navigating around public transportation for the visually impaired and physically challenged sections of society is a challenging task. With rapid proliferation of technology, there has been a pressing need to develop enhanced methodologies to help people with disabilities access public transportation. While there are many navigation systems, some of them leverage Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, which is useful in outdoor environments but is not effective in navigating indoor environments. Beacons are emergent sensors that are becoming popular for indoor positioning in malls and airports. They use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology, which is extensively supported by all modern day smartphones. In this paper, we propose a proof of concept (POC) for a mobile application which uses BLE beacons to provide assistance to people with special needs. This application would provide an easy to use voice interface for navigating inside stations, buses and trains. As a part of our research, we aim to use existing beacons on some regional transit centers and deploy new beacons. We plan to analyze VTA's (Valley Transportation Authority) ridership data to extract contextual data about the commuter's current environment to provide commuter with cognitive solution and assistance during travel. The end goal of our research is to enhance the VTA travel experience for special need travelers in the San Francisco Bay Area.