Inclusive Design Challenge

Sponsor: US Department of Transportatation

Dates: January 2021 to June 2022

Researchers: Kathleen D. Klinich, Miriam Manary, Kyle Boyle, Nichole Orton

Collaborators: May Mobility, United Spinal, The Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living (AACIL), Feonix Mobility Rising

For Stage I of the proposed Inclusive Design Challenge project, we will demonstrate the feasibility of using a UDIG-compatible docking system (coupled with an automated belt-donning system) in an electric Ford Transit modified for use by wheelchair users. Installing equipment in this vehicle will allow us to address many of the challenges that will occur in AV shuttles and other future vehicles. These challenges include installing vehicle anchorages and a wheelchair ramp in a vehicle where an array of batteries is located under the floor where these components usually would be attached or stored. It will also allow further study of the space required for a wheelchair user to maneuver into the docking station, and how the wheelchair seating station can be placed to optimize accessibility as well as space for other passengers in a van-sized shuttle. Demonstrating viability in this vehicle during Stage I will provide valuable experience and understanding to installing and iterating on a full system and autonomous experience in an AV shuttle during Stage II.

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