Researchers at Lehigh University are developing a way to make it easier for wheelchair-bound individuals to dock a wheelchair in the back of a minivan. The system utilizes lasers and radio frequency technology to automatically guide a wheelchair onto the forklift-style platform that is in the rear of the van. This is similar to how the spacecraft Jules Verne docked with the International Space Station or how my Roomba robotic vacuum will automatically dock with its charging cradle.
The researchers integrated this system into a Chrysler minivan and it has proved to be successful 97 percent of the time including in difficult situations like on gravel and in the rain. [New Scientist]