Navcog3 in the wild: Large-scale Blind Indoor Navigation Assistant with Semantic Features

Daisuke Sato, Uran Oh, João Guerreiro, Dragan Ahmetovic, Kakuya Naito, Hironobu Takagi, Kris M. Kitani, Chieko Asakawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


NavCog3 is a smartphone turn-by-turn navigation assistant system we developed specifically designed to enable independent navigation for people with visual impairments. Using off-the-shelf Bluetooth beacons installed in the surrounding environment and a commodity smartphone carried by the user, NavCog3 achieves unparalleled localization accuracy in real-world large-scale scenarios. By leveraging its accurate localization capabilities, NavCog3 guides the user through the environment and signals the presence of semantic features and points of interest in the vicinity (e.g., doorways, shops). To assess the capability of NavCog3 to promote independent mobility of individuals with visual impairments, we deployed and evaluated the system in two challenging real-world scenarios. The first scenario demonstrated the scalability of the system, which was permanently installed in a five-story shopping mall spanning three buildings and a public underground area. During the study, 10 participants traversed three fixed routes, and 43 participants traversed free-choice routes across the environment. The second scenario validated the system's usability in the wild in a hotel complex temporarily equipped with NavCog3 during a conference for individuals with visual impairments. In the hotel, almost 14.2h of system usage data were collected from 37 unique users who performed 280 travels across the environment, for a total of 30,200m traversed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14
JournalACM Transactions on Accessible Computing
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was sponsored in part by JST CREST (Grant No. JPMJCR14E1) and NSF NRI (Grant No. 1637927).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Association for Computing Machinery.


  • Indoor navigation
  • Points of interest
  • User evaluation
  • Visual impairments
  • Voice interaction


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