Ensuring proper living conditions for an ever growing number of elderly people is a significative challenge for many countries. The difficulty and cost of hiring and training specialized personnel has fostered research in assistive robotics as a viable alternative. In this context, an ideally suited and very relevant application is to transport people with reduced mobility. This may involve either autonomous or semi-autonomous transportation devices such as cars and wheelchairs.
For a working solution, a number of problems including safety, usability and economic feasibility have to be solved. This paper presents PAL’s robotic wheelchair, an experimental platform to study and provide solutions to many of the aforementioned problems.