How autonomous vehicles can serve people with disabilities

This year the university of Pittsburg is kickstarting research based on autonomous transportation and how the technology can help the disabled community.  The University received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation in July to begin their research. Research will last 18 months and will focus on how various transportation options can affect both travel demand and help those individuals with disabilities.  The study is not meant to develop autonomous vehicle technology, but instead help aid in the research and needs that manufactures must accommodate to those with disabilities. 

Vehicles dedicated to disabled access have been in concept production for some time. Most notability the EQUAL has been around since 2014 and offers an independent low-emission concept transportation option for those who are in a wheelchair.The vehicle allows those in a wheelchair to enter through the back of the car, allowing them easy access to the adjustable spinner knob steering wheel.There are various vehicles that are in the concept phase that can benefit from the researching being performed at Pittsburg.  In 18th months The University of Pittsburgh hopes to help define a clear guidelines for meeting the accessibility needs when it comes to autonomous vehicles and its drivers. 

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