WHEELCHAIR TRANSPORTATION SAFETY
DEVELOPMENT OF A TEST PROCEDURE TO EVALUATE WHEELCHAIRS IN SIDE IMPACT
The goal of this project is to develop test procedures that will lead to improved safety in side impact crashes for people who travel while seated in their wheelchairs. Elements that are needed to achieve this are:
- Wheelchairs that remains intact and keep the occupant positioned relative to the airbag
- Tiedowns that secure wheelchairs under lateral loading
- Occupant protection systems for nearside and farside impact
The test procedures, tools, and models developed in this project will need to address the different needs of wheelchairs manufacturers, WTORS manufacturers, and vehicle manufacturers, while also considering how to maximize both independence and safety of wheelchair users. The project will develop finite element (FE) models of tools, fixtures, and commercial products as part of the process to develop test procedures.
DESIGN GUIDELINES FOR ACCESSIBLE AUTOMATED VEHICLES: MOBILITY FOCUS
This project will generate a document that compiles design guidelines relevant for ensuring that AVs are accessible for people with mobility disabilities. The guidelines will reference relevant information from existing regulations and recommended practices, add clarifying material where helpful, and develop new procedures where needed. Guidelines will be refined using feedback from volunteer participants in vehicles that do and do not meet the guidelines. Guidelines will also be revised to incorporate industry input. In addition to a standalone publication, the team will also seek a home for the guidelines in the publications of a standards group, such as SAE, ISO or RESNA.
INCLUSIVE DESIGN CHALLENGE PHASE I
For this project, the research team from UMTRI and May Mobility will install an automated wheelchair docking system meeting specifications for a universal docking interface geometry (UDIG). This concept allows any wheelchair with attachment hardware meeting the UDIG specifications to dock with any vehicle equipped with anchoring hardware meeting the UDIG specifications. The team will also include an automated seatbelt donning-system with its docking system. The research team intends to present their automated wheelchair docking and restraint system within a wheelchair-accessible electric hybrid minivan for their Stage II demonstration.
DEVELOPMENT OF AN AUTOMATED WHEELCHAIR TIEDOWN AND RESTRAINT SYSTEM
We are building on previous wheelchair transportation safety efforts to develop an automated wheelchair tiedown and occupant restraint system (AWTORS) that could be used in automated vehicles where a driver is not available to help secure the wheelchair and occupant. Experts in restraint system design from ZF will be our partners. For the wheelchair tiedown portion of the system that attaches the wheelchair to the vehicle, we have designed hardware meeting the Universal Docking Interface Geometry (UDIG) specified in voluntary wheelchair safety standards WC18 and WC19. Similar in concept to the standardization of trailer hitches that allows any semi-tractor to attach and tow any trailer, UDIG has been proposed as a solution to allow any wheelchair user to dock in any vehicle if the hardware on each meets dimensional specifications. The wheelchair attachment hardware will consist of components attached to rear structures of the wheelchair below seat level. The docking hardware will consist of a floor-mounted device with hooks; the user can deploy a mechanism with hand or voice control to engage the hooks with the wheelchair attachment hardware. The primary element of the automated occupant restraint system will be a 3-point seat belt that can be placed on the occupant using a hand control to rotate the shoulder/lap anchor point into position. In addition, we have studied different airbag designs will to provide supplemental restraint for occupants whose seat height and width may vary. The AWTORS prototypes will be developed using a combination of computational modeling, volunteer evaluation, and dynamic testing.