Navigation Systems for Semi-autonomous Operation of Wheelchairs

Status: Current

Dates: 2010 - 2011

Māori Relevant Content: No


  • Ministry of Science & Innovation (MSI) (Capability Funding)

Project Abstract

This research addresses the issues associated with the components of a smart wheelchair, and develops a navigation system that is retrofitted to a electric powered wheelchair. The navigation system takes a systems engineering approach, integrating many existing open-source software projects. It is aimed at operation in an unstructured indoor environment, and requires no a priori information about the environment. The key components in the system are: obstacle avoidance, map building, localisation, path planning, and autonomously travelling towards a goal. The test electric wheelchair is instrumented with the following: a laptop, a laser scanner, wheel encoders, camera, and a variety of user input methods. The user interfaces include: a touch screen friendly graphical user interface, keyboard, joystick, and basic speech control.

Researchers - UC Staff

  • XiaoQi Chen: Principal Investigator; Mechanical Engineering
  • Rodney Bruce Elliott: Technician; Mechanical Engineering
  • Michael Philip Hayes: Associate Investigator; Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Hamish Roger William House: Administrator; New Zealand ICT Innovation Institute
  • Julian David Murphy: Technician; Mechanical Engineering
  • Robert Ching Sian Tang: Postgraduate student; Electrical and Computer Engineering

Researchers - Non-UC Staff

  • Ian Palmer: Collaborator; Dynamic Controls Ltd
  • Warren Pettigrew: Collaborator; Dynamic Controls Ltd

Subject Area: Disciplines