ODILIA - Mobility of Visually Impaired Pedestrians by User-Oriented Information and Satellite-Based Navigation

The aim of ODILIA is the development of a demonstrator navigation system for blind and visually impaired people. Regarding all system components, the system is tailored to the special user requirements.

Short Description

Blind and visually impaired people enforce their claim on a navigation system which should enable them to reach a certain destination independently from any other assistance. These requirements concern the hard- and software and also the user interface which is specially adapted to the needs of the user. Apart from long battery life, small size, and low weight, it is important for the user that the system can be worn without attracting attention of everyone.

The software provides an individual configuration according to the user’s demands. In route planning, the user can choose between the shortest and the safest route and, additionally, can decide to use means of public transport. Guidance instructions are available offering a lot of details.

The system facilitates the user to set the individual amount of the provided information. It generates instructions about turns, delivers information on points of interest, and gives hints on obstacles occurring, for example, when walking on the pavement. Furthermore, the user is guided while crossing a street, and he is advised against stairs and obstacles that could cause injuries.

In order to reliably support conventional travel aids, the accuracy of positioning as well as of the digital map has to be in the tactile range of the white cane. In case of positioning, this is achieved by the integration of GPS and a pedestrian navigation module which compensates GPS signal outages due to shadowing effects as occurring in urban areas.

The guidance instructions must be provided without disturbing the user’s acoustic perception of the surrounding environment. Therefore, head phones are not a suitable tool. Instead of that, vibrating signal pads are combined with small loudspeakers.

Another important feature is a pre-trip training mode which allows the user to become acquainted with possible routes in advance and which offers the comparison of different routes under virtual conditions. Supported by AFN and the Styrian Association of Blind and Visually Impaired People, the project ODILIA has attracted a lot of interest and has gained positive reactions by potential users.

Project Partners


Institute of Navigation and Satellite Geodesy, TU GRAZ - Manfred Wieser


  • AFN Spezialentwicklungen - Anton F. Neuber
  • Styrian Association of Blind and Visually Impaired People - Mario Kowald

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