On Constructing a New Electrically Powered Wheelchair that Can be Handled Like Driving a Car
Fumitake FUJII, Kenzo WADA
Possible choices of the assistive device for walking difficulties and/or disabilities nowadays are the electrically powered wheelchair (EPW) and the so-called “senior-car”. An EPW generally has a joystick as its controlling gear, which makes it hard especially for the aged to manage. The senior-car on the other hand has a very familiar driving interface, but its utilization might be restricted only to a door-to-door transportation because of its large body. In this paper, we will develop a new compact EPW which can be handled easily by anyone who has a driving experience. The proposed EPW has a steering wheel and a foot pedal as its controls, but does not contain a mechanical steering system nor an engine. All car-like behavior will be synthesized by the two driving motors and an implemented MRAS based controller whose reference model simulates the car dynamics. The force feedback steering wheel emulating steering reaction force will also be incorporated into the proposed EPW to imitate car driving feeling during manipulation and to acquire the handling stability and safety of the EPW. Finally, results of the experiments will be reported to show the validity of the suggested EPW.