Cruise Debuts Autonomous Wheelchair-Accessible Vehicle
- By Laurie Watanabe
- Sep 23, 2023
Autonomous vehicle manufacturer Cruise has unveiled a wheelchair-accessible version that could serve as a driver-less taxicab.
The Cruise WAV, introduced Sept. 14, has a built-in ramp with pop-up rails, and the vehicle kneels, lowering itself for easier boarding and disembarking. Once on board, the wheelchair can be secured using tie-downs or can use Cruise’s own adjustable-height docking system designed in collaboration with Q’STRAINT. Accessible controls in the Cruise WAV enable wheelchair riders to call for assistance, operate the doors, or operate the ramp. Controls can also be used via the wheelchair rider’s mobile phone.
Cruise, the robotaxi division of General Motors (GM), works with an Accessibility Council who “ensures our accessibility roadmap serves the greatest needs. We prioritize their trusted feedback, especially in the development of the Cruise WAV.”
In social media announcements on Sept. 14, Cruise President Kyle Vogt said, “The transportation status quo is not only unsafe, it is inaccessible. Over 41 million Americans with disabilities deserve better transportation options. I’m excited to introduce the Cruise WAV, the world’s first self-driving, wheelchair-accessible vehicle.
“We have developed this vehicle in close partnership with GM and the disability community, including BraunAbility, Q’STRAINT, and members of our Cruise Accessibility Council, who provided feedback on the key components of its design, user experience, and securement systems.”
Vogt added that Cruise is planning for closed-course testing in October, with a pilot program expected in 2024.
Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at [email protected].