For many years, it seems industry-disrupting technology improved lives for everyone but us, and that is changing now. - Bimpe Ladoja, a disability rights advocate in London said.
As disability awareness begins to take the center stage in our society, so also is the innovation and production of accessible vehicles for people with disabilities. People often don’t realize everything wheelchair users go through just to be able to travel a mile or two. Today, we are seeing innovations and mobility products from Volkswagen Group of America, Tesla, Ford, and Toyota. These innovations are making way into the daily lives of people with disabilities and helping them move about independently. We are also seeing fleets of accessible cars on the listings of transportation network companies, like Uber and other ride-sharing networks.
A team of engineers at Volkswagen’s Innovation and Engineering Center in California are currently making an accessible, electric self-driving vehicle.
"Volkswagen is looking for an independent solution for wheelchair users to secure themselves. There are universal docking solutions that have been proposed, and we’re working with wheelchair manufacturers and securement providers. We are also be looking at an area like the indoor controls and reachability. That means there will be multiple ways to access them physically or you can access them through an assistive devices — your phone for example or your wheelchair control dashboard — these are what we are integrating into our accessible electric self-driving vehicle," Shani Jayant, the principal user experience designer for Volkswagen Group of America’s Inclusive Mobility initiative said.
"At Uber, we promote accessibility by working with car manufacturer for the production of accessible vehicles by leveraging on the relationships we have with them, we are also encouraging them to work with disability organizations to figure out what a fully accessible car that doesn’t require after-market modifications would look like off the manufacturing line," Malcom Glenn, head of Global Policy for Accessibility and Underserved Communities at Uber Technologies in Washington, D.C said.
Image credit: CEFutcher