2019 Volume 4 Issue 2 Pages 135-140
Technological developments are in progress to realize automated driving, and people with physical disabilities are anticipating such support. The commercialization of automated vehicles will form an ideal means of mobility for people with physical disabilities as it will permit them to move from door-to-door and improve their quality of life (QOL). When a fully-automated driving system is developed, the operation of vehicles will rely solely on this system. However, at this time, all drivers need to handle acute situations by controlling their vehicles by themselves. Is it possible for physically-impaired drivers to take appropriate actions in such situations? People with spinal cord injuries—who include those with lower-limb disabilities—have to steer and regulate their speed simultaneously by using only their upper-limbs. This makes their driving posture and behavior unstable, and they find it more difficult to handle acute situations than people without physical disabilities. A manual operation-device operates simultaneously with the accelerator and the brake pedal of a vehicle. Taking this device as an example, it is installed in a limited space around the driving seat after the car is purchased, and this causes the device to be located in a position that does not suit the driver. The device is not designed for drivers to steer their car according to their physical condition, but rather it is designed for people to adjust their posture to drive.