Innovation That Matters

Self-driving wheelchairs

Autonomous wheelchair assists with user independence

Nonprofit & Social Cause

The means of transport has been trialled by wheelchair users at Singapore’s Changi General Hospital.

Once the figment of science fiction films, autonomous technologies have broke into the real world with trials of self-delivering cars on the roads and mobile surveillance units in partnership with drones. More and more, it seems that the mind-boggling technologies portrayed by Hollywood are becoming a reality.

The Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology, known as SMART, and the Future Urban Mobility (FM) Interdisciplinary Research Group based in Singapore have tapped into the potential of autonomous devices with their first self-driving wheelchair. The first of its kind, the wheelchair has been trialled by those who are wheelchair dependent at Changi General Hospital. It is hoped that innovation can help nurses focus more on patient care as they can get relief from logistics work that includes searching for wheelchairs and wheeling patients around the hospital network.

Its creation is the product of 18-months of work by SMART, MIT and NUS, with SMART currently trialling two of the machines in Singapore and MIT testing another two units at its campus in the US. The wheelchair is the latest in a string of autonomous vehicles made by SMART, including a golf cart, an electric taxi, and a scooter that transported more than 100 MIT visitors around on tours in 2016. How could autonomous vehicles or even machines boost business operations?



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