Volume 48 Number 5, 2011
Pages 529 — 544
Abstract — The Drive-Safe System (DSS) is a collision-avoidance system for power wheelchairs designed to support people with mobility impairments who also have visual, upper-limb, or cognitive impairments. The DSS uses a distributed approach to provide an add-on, shared-control, navigation-assistance solution. In this project, the DSS was tested for engineering goals such as sensor coverage, maximum safe speed, maximum detection distance, and power consumption while the wheelchair was stationary or driven by an investigator. Results indicate that the DSS provided uniform, reliable sensor coverage around the wheelchair; detected obstacles as small as 3.2 mm at distances of at least 1.6 m; and attained a maximum safe speed of 4.2 km/h. The DSS can drive reliably as close as 15.2 cm from a wall, traverse doorways as narrow as 81.3 cm without interrupting forward movement, and reduce wheelchair battery life by only 3%. These results have implications for a practical system to support safe, independent mobility for veterans who acquire multiple disabilities during Active Duty or later in life. These tests indicate that a system utilizing relatively low cost ultrasound, infrared, and force sensors can effectively detect obstacles in the vicinity of a wheelchair.
Key words: assistive technology, collision avoidance, intelligent mobility aids, man-machine systems, mobility impairments, navigation assistance, rehabilitation, robotics, smart wheelchairs, wheeled mobility.
Last Reviewed or Updated Wednesday, May 25, 2011 2:04 PM