More than 6.2 million Canadians (almost 22% of the population in this country) are living with some form of disability that affects their level of freedom, independence, or quality of life (Statistics Canada, 2017). In most parts of Canada today, persons with disabilities caused by disease or injury are faced with multiple challenges.
Their lack of full mobility restricts the types of transportation they can use, thereby making the availability of a motor vehicle relatively more important to them. Furthermore, these folks are very limited in the type of vehicle that they could use. As a result, disabled drivers in Canada must pay more for a product that they need more, and with fewer available resources than the average Canadian (Automobile Consumer Coalition, Paul Coninx, 2007).
Disabilities come in various ranges and forms. As such, when designing a form of mobility, designers need to consider many accessibility and accommodation perspectives.
As defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), a disability is any functional limitation of an individual’s ability to perform an activity. However, that should not mean that a person with a disability cannot participate equally. There are numerous types of disabilities that should be considered in this design challenge (including but not limited to)
Disabilities that affect a person’s physical mobility/ dexterity.
There is a difference between the needs of visually impaired individuals and blind people.
both partial and full hearing loss.
Often the most misunderstood of disabilities, psychiatric (or mental illness) is becoming one of the most common forms of disabilities.
Technology & Vision
Current Autonomous Vehicle (AV) technologies, recently able to achieve SAE Level 3 (e.g. Honda’s Legend platform), could be immediately leveraged in retrofitting existing vehicles to the benefit of individuals with disabilities. That said, this design challenge asks creators to not restrict themselves to modifications of existing vehicles, but rather to introduce a new concept of universal mobility and design a stand-alone customizable electric vehicle & autonomous vehicle platform.
Whether you are beginning to explore the freedom of driving or are helping someone being brought from point-A to point-B, the vehicle is a global symbol of independence.
You are challenged to design a form of EV mobility that comfortably and ergonomically carries ALL individual(s) from location A to location B. The mission-statement of this design competition is: Accessibility-as-a-Platform: One platform, many people.
Assumptions & Considerations
The proposed vehicle for this design challenge will be set in year 2027 and will have several assumptions to consider for that future date. The electrical vehicle platform should be understood to be multi-functional, capable of addressing all the electro-mechanical requirements required by a form of mobility for ALL people. The following assumptions of the vehicle’s autonomous level, powertrain, body/materials/structure, suspension, and chassis can be made:
• Lithium-ion battery powered
• Electric motors – two
• Independent suspension for each wheel
• Body panels – aluminium and polymers
• Body structure – composite and/or metallics
• SAE Autonomous – Level 4
This assumed physical/electrical/digital mobility skeleton should be customizable to the individual’s needs. The interior is a hollow shell, allowing for flexibility in the number of individuals the platform can transport and the manner in ‘how’ they are transported. The key consideration for any design is that they meet road vehicle standards in dimension and overall performance; anything within those constraints will be considered a valid submission.
The APMA’s Vehicle-as-a-Caregiver© initiative on Canada’s first zero-emission concept vehicle will need to reflect Canadian values through its design philosophy and attention to its occupants. Compassionate and empathetic societal traits have become a global symbol of who we Canadians are, and as such a Canadian-design mobility platform should mirror those values in providing a high level of understanding for caregiving. Implementing multiple sensory technologies within the vehicle’s environment will provide agnostic support to ALL those that occupy its interior, from simple distractive driving to notifying a significant health incident’s medical service.
Expected to be addressed:
HMI/UI/UX using SMART Glass
CASE (Connected. Autonomous. Security. Electrical)
Circular Economy considerations
Corporate Social Responsibility/ Environmental Social Governance
References/Readings, and Precedents: