The Kurume Institute of Technology have developed a voice-operated wheelchair with an automated driving system. A subsidiary of Zenrin and Whill, a venture company specializing in personalized electronic vehicles, collaborated on the project. Wheelchair users will be taken to their location of choice simply by stating a desired destination (within a specified area). The project has utilized Whill’s technology, which uses sensors and image recognition to detect obstacles. Zenrin DataCom provides the wheelchairs with detailed map data, while companies such as Panasonic have helped developed the device’s self-driving capabilities. The plan is to collaborate with Kurume City’s welfare services to test the wheelchairs. It is hoped that the new product will help the elderly and people with disabilities who depend on careers to move with greater freedom. The developers hope to see the wheelchair used in facilities such as museums and locations shopping malls in the future. Source: Nikkei Shimbun, 8/4/2017
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