Performance Testing of Collision-Avoidance System for Power WheelchairsBy LoPresti, Edmund F.; Sharma, Vinod; Simpson, Richard C.; Mostowy, L. Casimir; Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, Vol. 48, No. 5, pp. 529-544
Publication Date: 2011
Study evaluated a collision avoidance system for power wheelchairs designed to support people with mobility impairments who also have visual, upper limb, or cognitive disabilities. The Drive-Safe System (DSS) is described as an add-on, distributed, shared control navigation assistance system for powered wheelchairs where the user is responsible for high level control of the system while the DDS overrides unsafe maneuvers through autonomous collision avoidance, automatic wall following, and door crossing. The DDS 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 indicated that the DDS provided uniform, reliable sensor coverage around the wheelchair; detected obstacles as small as 3.2 millimeters at distances of at least 1.5 meters; and attained a maximum safe speed of 4.2 kilometers per hour. The DSS was also shown to drive reliably as close as 15.2 centimeters from a wall, traverse doorways as narrow as 81.3 centimeters without interrupting forward movement, and reduce wheelchair battery life by only 3 percent. The authors conclude that these results have implications for a practical system to support safe, independent mobility for armed forces veterans who acquire multiple disabilities. Study limitations and directions for future work are discussed.
VA Rehabilitation Research & Development Service (Web Site: http://www.rehab.research.va.gov )
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