Vehicle accessibility as a field has progressed rapidly over the past five years. Although with one caveat, the advances in automotive and wheelchair technology haven’t gone hand-in-hand, making it difficult for differently-abled passengers to choose.
Figure 1: A traditional wooden or plastic board might suffice for a few uses of wheelchair-to-vehicle transfer
Even now, accessibility user experience revolves around basic product training and the specific medical locomotor mobility issue in a person. User independence hence has a long way to go.
An increase in foreign accessibility product imports in India makes it difficult to choose from a wide range of wheelchair-to-vehicle transfer solutions. The availability of spare parts is a major issue with imports.
Fitting a wheelchair transfer vehicle product requires preparation: Vehicle interiors and bucket seating features differ widely- a good pre-sales service from the accessibility company/dealer will assist in buying decisions. Airbags, active safety (sensors that constantly detect collisions) & passive safety (structures built into the vehicle to absorb collisions) are more essential and mandatory than ever. It is best to install a wheelchair device that integrates seamlessly with a vehicle, by building communication channels with your local dealers.
With electric vehicle usage increasing, most of us are familiar with the term range anxiety. In similar and different user categories of passengers with locomotor mobility issues, travel anxiety is higher for a differently-abled or geriatric person. For example, a child with Cerebral Palsy being anxious over seating holds, arm rests, belts, and stability needs to be considered.
Promoting automotive accessibility starts from the top:
Vehicle OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) cooperation with accessibility manufacturers is the fastest way to an inclusive travel segment. Very similar to accessibility promotion in the digital space, the scaling initiative lies in the hands of larger companies. Vehicle warranties can be made flexible for special passenger cases and the car owner can request the same.
Figure 2: An electric height-adjustable wheelchair docking trolley of aluminum
Wheelchair materials (like the high-strength aluminum in the above pictures) and electronics play a big role in a time when chips and supply-chain shortages have become rampant. Hence, choosing the right properties for a wheelchair determines after-sales service, spare part lead times, etc.
The goal is to be mobile:
Traveling for essential medical treatment or even a weekly-once commute to work is a hassle for passengers with locomotor mobility issues. Despite there being a few automotive mobility solutions in the country, a lack of awareness of the benefits of these solutions hinders it from moving forward.
For more information and advice:
Caruna seating is an Indian-based manufacturer that provides such wheelchair-to-vehicle devices. Persons interested may Whatsapp the following numbers for inquiries and advice: +91 80723 36673, +91 94898 76146
Currently, Caruna is taking orders in Mumbai (& Maharashtra state), Bangalore (& Karnataka state), Hyderabad (& Andhra state), Chennai (Tamil Nadu state).
The basic model price starts from Rs 94,500/- onwards.