The future of transport is exciting, and there are technologists and researchers out there such as Tesla and General Motors racing to get the driverless vehicle on the road. It is important that these vehicles cater for all.
A particular consideration is how to cater for those people with a limiting long term illness, impairment or disability. According to government statistics, there are over 11 million people affected in the UK alone and these numbers are expected to rise as people live longer. The most commonly –reported impairments are those that affect mobility, lifting or carrying. There is a bigger need now more than ever for these developments.
There are many ideas out there to benefit the disabled sector. BMW have developed a concept in 2016 that has fitted a state of the art couch with tonnes of leg room and a giant flat screen TV seeing as there’s no use for a driver’s seat. This would be beneficial for people lacking mobility and wheelchair users. In other cases, VolksWagen Group, have developed a commutable POD. This has just enough room for a pedestrian, to which they referred to as ‘a comfortable lounge on wheels’. Microsoft recently released an app called ‘Seeing AI’ that helps visually impaired people better sense and understand the world around them. Seeing AI uses ‘machine learning, natural language processing and computer vision to understand the world and describe it in words to the user’ (Daily Mail, October 2017)
However, it’s not just international companies considering these users, founders of Midlands Connected Autonomous Vehicles (MCAV), Conigital are also providing state of the art technology in this fast moving world!
Since 2015, they have been focusing on the development of passenger interaction and experience. Seeing as automakers are exploring how the tech can change vehicles themselves, ‘taking the driver out of the equation gives designers new freedom to re-imagine car interiors’ (Business Insider, Sep 2017). Considering as the ‘driverless’ experience started with a focus on safety and cancelling out human error, interior research is crucial to benefit wider areas of society that otherwise wouldn’t have been considered. What is important to point out is that Conigital encompasses these things and more.
Equipped with AI, the Siri equivalent, ’Gemma’, and an amazingly useful app to boot, the POD couldn’t be more accessible. AI is equipped with environmental technology to detect your presence, your location, destination and lifestyle activities either by touch or voice. Fitted with cutting edge technology, you can select where you want to go on the digital screen in front of you. So whether you want to shop, go to the theatre or visit your friend around the corner it is all at your fingertips! How amazing is that?
By Hayley Izzard
The POD will be at our next instalment of MCAV on 8 March 2018. Book Now to reserve your place!
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