UDIG Geometry Analysis

Researchers: Mick Arundel (UROP), Kathleen D. Klinich, 2023-2024

Abstract: This research will help make autonomous vehicles (AVs) more accessible and independent for wheelchair users. A universal docking interface geometry (UDIG) has been proposed, where any vehicle with compatible anchors can secure any wheelchair with compatible attachments. This type of system would allow people in wheelchairs to ride without extra assistance in AVs. Wheelchair manufacturers have indicated that it would be better for manual wheelchairs users if the UDIG specifications were adjusted to place the wheelchair attachments closer to the occupant center of gravity. However, moving attachments forward is limited by the presence of batteries and structures on power wheelchairs. 

This project conducted geometric analysis of wheelchair scans to evaluate the space available for locating UDIG attachments. UMTRI researchers have collected 3D scan data of volunteers’ wheelchairs. Using Solidworks, a CAD software that allows the viewing and manipulation of the wheelchair scans, wheelchair scans were imported to allow virtual evaluation of where the docking attachments could be located on the wheelchair. The extremes of the orientation are all tested to see each chair’s constraints for the placement of the attachments. Results can be used to modify UDIG specifications so they will be easier to implement for manual wheelchair users. This research will benefit the lives of individuals who use wheelchairs, allowing them to travel more comfortably and independently.