Aira’s New Street-Crossing Policy is Now Live

November 4th, 2019

A close-up shot of a pair of legs and the tip of a white cane as a person crosses the street at a crosswalk.

Earlier this year, we announced we would be reviewing our Street-Crossing Policy at the request of many of our Explorers. We’re proud to say that we have now made changes to the policy that go into effect as of today. Read on to learn what’s changed. Alternatively, listen to this special episode of Airacast to hear all about it.

Background

In the past, the Street-Crossing Policy for Aira agents was to provide descriptions of intersections but to then remain absolutely silent while the Explorer crossed the street, regardless of whether the Explorer asked for information, assistance while crossing, or if they started to veer.

The policy was created with input from Orientation & Mobility (O&M) Specialists and consumer organizations. To ensure that Explorers were free to use their O&M skills without any distractions, it was decided that agents would remain absolutely silent to avoid any kind of negative impact on situational awareness.

After collecting over four years’ experience, Aira responded to requests from our consumer community to update our long-standing policy.

The New Street-Crossing Policy

Aira agents will now provide minimal, relevant information to Explorers who are actively crossing an intersection when prompted by an Explorer and when circumstances change during the crossing.

So, what exactly does this mean? Agents will continue to provide full descriptions of an intersection as an Explorer approaches it. Once the Explorer reaches the corner and the agent has finished describing the intersection, instead of saying “I will remain silent until you have finished crossing,” the agent will stay silent to give the Explorer the opportunity to ask for any additional details or to begin listening to their surroundings.

At this point, if an Explorer asks an agent before crossing to provide specific information relevant to the intersection (like, “Let me know if I start to veer”) they will do so. If an Explorer requests information while actively crossing an intersection, or if circumstances change during the crossing, then the agent must provide this information while the Explorer crosses the street.

If circumstances change while an Explorer is crossing the street, an agent is allowed to provide relevant information such as, but not limited to:

  • If an Explorer is veering out of the crosswalk
  • If an Explorer is veering toward traffic or an active roadway
  • If an Explorer crosses an intersection diagonally
  • If a new obstacle (something not seen during the description of the intersection prior to crossing) has entered the Explorer’s path

Please remember that agents can only provide information on what can be clearly seen through their dashboard video feed. If an agent cannot see the information requested, they will say so.

If an Explorer would prefer to have the agent remain completely silent while crossing a street, the explorer can simply inform the agent and the agent will not provide any additional information.

The information Explorers will receive while crossing an intersection will be brief and descriptive and only about the task at hand. Once on the curb on the other side of the street, regular conversation may resume.

Aira has given this policy change careful consideration and testing and we hope that it will further improve the Aira experience.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Customer Care by email at support@aira.io, or by using one of the following phone numbers:

  • USA and Canada: 1-800-835-1934
  • Australia: 1-800-765-096
  • New Zealand: 64-800-425-451