Assistive and Rehabilitation Robotics IIView this Special Issue
Mobility Assistance for Older People
This paper describes the development of a scooter supporting the mobility of older people. The scooter is equipped with a drive assistance system and a special scooter navigation system. The drive assistance system consists of a velocity controller, a steering controller, and a collision avoidance system. In this paper it is demonstrated how the challenging control and steering tasks are modified to increase safety for older people. A special scooter navigation system is presented, to support elderly people in navigating on a safe route through the city using sidewalks, pedestrian lights and crosswalks. For extended positioning requirements a hybrid positioning system was developed combining GPS, WLAN, and inertial sensor data. By combination of these technical improvements it is demonstrated how older people are able to preserve their self-determined and independent life. Usability research was done with focus groups in order to become familiar with global user demands and expectations towards a mobility assistance system. Results show that the system components are expected to assist the user in navigation, steering and speed control rather than to take complete control on the driving situation.