Wheelchair Uses Lasers To Automatically Dock In Van

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]

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@smalleyxb122: That's what I was thinking. She says "it can still be put away manually", but if the person was able to do that, this entire process is unnecessary.

Why don't they just make a lift ramp in the back and let the disabled person just load up with the chair into the van? I'm sure some engineer can work out a way to safely attach the chair and occupant for transport once loaded in the van.