The three final-year B.Tech students, Chinta Ravi Teja, Sarath Sreekanth and Akhil Raj of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amritapuri campus, led by their professor, Dr. Rajesh Kannan Megalingam, Director, HuT (Humanitarian Technology) Labs and Assistant Professor, Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering, Amrita School of Engineering, have developed a self-driving wheelchair, “Self-E”. Self-E can safely take a user from one point to another by navigating its own path and avoiding obstacles on the way. The wheelchair works on Robotic Operating System (ROS) and can be navigated using a smartphone app.
“Self-E is unique in the sense that it is the first self-driving wheelchair in India built by the research lab of a university without any collaboration with foreign universities or companies. It now needs to be tested in different environments like hospitals and airports with patients and wheelchair users. The current version is a successful prototype and, with the help of Technology Business Incubator of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, we hope to commercialize the product,” says Dr. Rajesh Kannan who guided the students in this project.
“If users are able to operate a smartphone, they will be relieved from the continuous use of a traditional joystick to steer the wheelchair. With a simple touch on the map displayed on the mobile screen, the wheelchair takes them to the destination. They could have complete control over the wheelchair without anyone’s help. On the other hand, if some patients have a problem in using a smartphone, a friend or family member or assistant could use the Android App to transport them without the need to physically push the wheelchair,” shared Chinta Ravi Teja, one of the developers of the self-driving wheelchair.