Deaf taxi drivers take to Seoul streets with student-made app
A new app that aids communication with the hard of hearing is paving the way for deaf drivers to take Seoul’s streets.
The app Goyohan Taxi or Silent Taxi allows passengers to speak to their driver through tablets placed on the backseat of a car and beside the driver, reports The Korea Times.
The project was created by startup Coactus, a group of students from Dongguk University headed by a senior engineering student, Song Min-pyo.
Deaf taxi drivers have experienced being rejected by passengers because they would hand a pen and a notepad to communicate. During a test run in June, one driver from Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province said this no longer occurred, thanks to the app.
The app gives passengers the options to use voice recognition or to type their destination. Drivers can also “speak” to passengers — though they cannot type while driving, they are given templates such as “Please type in the address,” reports Korea Biz Wire. When the taxi is near the destination, automated messages alert the passenger to indicate a drop-off point and mode of payment.
Coactus coordinated with the Seoul Metropolitan Government and Korea Association of the Deaf (KAD) to find employment for deaf cabbies. Some taxi companies refused to hire hard of hearing drivers, insisting that verbal skills were a must. But finally, they found a willing and receptive partner in taxi company Shinshin.
“These drivers have zero accident history and undergo a rigorous driving-suitability test like any other taxi drivers,” Song said to The Korea Times.
The project was inspired by Uber’s initiatives to assist hard of hearing drivers through their app. It targets to expand to Namyangju, Gyeonggi province, to create jobs for 50 hard of hearing drivers, as per report.
Coactus topped a South Korean competition held by international non-profit Enactus, which engages students around the world who have entrepreneurial ventures which help their community. The group is set to represent their country in the international round in Silicon Valley. Niña V. Guno/JB
Microsoft launches $25M to use AI for disabilities
LOOK: Deaf Uber driver receives kudos from netizens
WATCH: Deaf couple surprised when flight attendant speaks in sign language
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.