Automotive

Device lets disabled people drive with one hand

Device lets disabled people dr...
A prototype driving device allows disabled people to steer, accelerate, change gears and brake with one hand (Photo: FICOSA International S.A.)
A prototype driving device allows disabled people to steer, accelerate, change gears and brake with one hand (Photo: FICOSA International S.A.)
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A prototype driving device allows disabled people to steer, accelerate, change gears and brake with one hand (Photo: FICOSA International S.A.)
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A prototype driving device allows disabled people to steer, accelerate, change gears and brake with one hand (Photo: FICOSA International S.A.)

Your driving instructor probably told you to always keep two hands on the wheel, and your feet ready at the pedals. For people lacking the use of one or more upper or lower limbs, however, this isn't always possible. Such people shouldn't be precluded from driving, but they shouldn't have to worry about not being able to fully control their car, either. While there are some solutions that can be applied to existing steering wheels and pedals, a group of Spanish researchers have come up with something else - a single device that allows drivers to steer, accelerate, change gears and brake with one hand.

The prototype was created by Asociación RUVID, a consortium of five Spanish research institutes and companies.

Because many of its users might have reduced strength in the hand operating the device, it is completely electronically controlled - no mechanics are involved. Because drivers are used to the haptic feedback provided naturally by a mechanical steering wheel, however, motors have been added to the device to simulate those sensations.

The ease with which the device is operated can also be adjusted, to meet the limitations of individual users.

One of the RUVID members, the Institute of Biomechanics of Valencia, recently presented the prototype at the 13th EAEC European Automotive Congress, in Spain.

16 comments
David Donovan
Please tell me I\'m having a nightmare. . . Dear God! This is EXACTLY the opposite direction we [in America, anyway] need to go in!!! I want to rid the highways of poor drivers, but someone\'s working on ways to get not just bad drivers, but literally LAME drivers on the road?
Eggshell
Mr. Donovan, Dear GOD!, you are the exact type of people that we disabled folks are constantly fighting. What makes someone who had his arm blown off, or someone born without an arm a poor driver? One has nothing to do with the other. If you happened to burn your hand and couldn\'t use it for a few weeks, would that all of a sudden make you a poor driver? Please support your fellow humans rather than ignorantly discard the disabled as dumb and lame.
Jerry Everard
Clearly David Donovan has never watched the paralympics, or he\'d realise that loss of a limb does not reduce reaction times, skill or judgement. Would Mr Donovan also like to see our returned injured Servicemen off the streets? I\'d like to thank Gizmag for highlighting an excellent assistive technology that will make our roads safer and provide better mobility for those unfortunate enough to suffer a physical injury.
Benny Wallace II
I\'d be willing to wager that Mr. Donovan has quite a few all or nothing opinions about people. A physical disability does not make one a bad driver. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, while talking on a cell phone or blatantly ignoring the rules of the road makes for bad drivers.
bramachari
My point, so fine and so excellent, is that our roadways are clogged from lame drivers. I am not worried about potentially excellent (probably young) amputee drivers. I am saying this is going to enable lame drivers from among the pathetic hoards who are always pursuing fairness instead of excellence.
Slowburn
A joystick drive by wire is not new, I read about a factory prototype that had one decades ago, but I would love to see one get into production.
jakey1234
And why should this just be used by the disabled. Could be the way to go for future vehicles
Mr Stiffy
It looks like a ride on sex machine.
Neil Larkins
My late wife would have loved this, had it been available. She always wanted the freedom of driving but found the add-on devices to enable her to at the time were too cumbersome, expensive or both. One thing sure: her only deficiency was physical; she was a near genius, mentally. I was always astounded at the things she was able to acomplish. As for people like Mr. Donovan, she had little use for such and often said that the worst handicaps were not physical or even mental, but the defects in character and compassion and understanding. Her handicap did not make her suffer as much as the Donovans of the world.
Trike-Flyer
I have two questions for Mr. Donovan aka Richard Cranium: 1. What do you propose that we should do with these disabled people who seem to be such a hindrance to you? Should we exterminate them, just like old Mr. Hitler did? 2. Have you ever considered that you or a family member may some day become disabled through e.g. a stroke, diabetes or maybe an accident or damage at birth by negligent doctors/nurses?