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New Self-Driving Wheelchair with Autonomous Navigation Technology
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New Self-Driving Wheelchair with Autonomous Navigation Technology

People with disabilities in India might have something to look forward to this coming year. Three engineering students from India have successfully developed a self-driving wheelchair with autonomous navigation technology.

The Self-E wheelchair is the first self-driving wheelchair in India that is being developed by a research lab without taking any help from companies or foreign universities. The high-tech wheelchair was developed by three engineering students from Tamil Nadu’s Amritha Vishwa Vidyapeetham University in Coimbatore, India.

Indian students Chinta Ravi Teja, Akhil Raj, and Sarath Sreekanth have joined forces to develop a new invention that could one day address accessibility issues in India. The three started working on the new wheelchair while working as junior researchers for the Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham’s Humanitarian Technology Lab.

About the newly developed Self-E wheelchair:

The self-driving wheelchair will provide people with disabilities a more affordable and comfortable wheelchair as compared with current expensive imported wheelchairs. Additionally, it also allows its users to be easily transported from one place to another, whether that be at a hospital or airport.

The wheelchair features a sophisticated autonomous navigation system, which allows the user to move the wheelchair without any external help. It uses a laser sensor technology called LiDAR to provide a detailed map of the surrounding space. The generated map is sent onto an Android-powered device (smartphone or tablet) through a dedicated mobile app.

Using touchscreen technology, the user can identify the desired location with a simple touch on the screen, and then the wheelchair travels accordingly to the destination specified in the screen. Unlike other imported wheelchairs in the market, the three plan to sell the wheelchair below R 1 lakh, making it more affordable for the public.

How the Self-E address accessibility issues in hospital and airport:

The new Self-E wheelchair has been designed to address the critical need for better accessibility. For example, in important places like hospitals and airports, many people still experience accessibility issues. People with disabilities have to depend on the wheelchair and their helpers, which limits their ability to move around on their own. But with the new Self-E wheelchair, everything would be different. It provides people the ability to control the wheelchair without taking any external help, providing much-needed freedom of movement.

Image credit: Stephen Chavez/ (screencap image)

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