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Autonomous Wheelchair Securement

Key project partners: Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority, Q'Straint, University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute

Description: Traditionally, bus drivers must manually secure wheelchairs on a bus to prevent them from moving during vehicle operation. This project would implement an autonomous device to allow wheelchair users to independently secure their wheelchairs safely with just the touch of a button.

Award amount: $157,000

Current status: The Quantum autonomous wheelchair securement system has been installed on 10 buses in regular use on TheRide's fixed routes in the Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti area. Milestones completed in 2019 and 2020 included purchasing, training, stakeholder previews, installation, and testing. Working initially with the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) to design a research approach involving video data analysis, the AAATA encountered challenges reliably mapping camera footage to ramp deployments in order to assemble a data set on use of the Quantums in the field. In 2021, following technical challenges and pandemic impacts, the AAATA restarted its effort to collect observational data and complete a robust evaluation of the new securements by June 2022. The project team plans to share lessons learned with other agencies on customer and staff responses to autonomous wheelchair securements, performance of the Quantums, and navigating data challenges when piloting mobility technology.

July 2021 stakeholder update meeting: Ann Arbor TheRide MMC Quantum 2021 Update

Video: TheRide Partners with Q'Straint to Bring the QUANTUM to Ann Arbor

Final Report: AAATA Autonomous Wheelchair Securement Report