Stories by Henry Claypool

Expert Voices

The market for accessible AVs is growing

A man in a wheelchair hails a taxi
A man using a wheelchair hails a taxi. Photo: Education Images/UIG via Getty Images

Ride-sharing options are scarce for people who use wheelchairs or have other travel limitations — and the need is likely to grow as the U.S. population ages.

Why it matters: With accessible ride-sharing, AV companies could expand travel options for as many as 15.4 million people who have the means to use ride-sharing services but limited opportunities.

Expert Voices

U.S. automakers risk falling behind foreign firms on accessibility

The front of a Volkswagen e-Golf electric car in front of the Volkswagen AG factory in Germany
The Volkswagen AG factory in Dresden, Germany. Photo: Jens Schlueter/Getty Images

Toyota, Renault, and VW have announced concept AVs that could be wheelchair accessible, but American automakers have yet to share wheelchair accessible design concepts.

Why it matters: If American auto manufacturers cede leadership on accessibility, they could end up forfeiting leadership on AV design more broadly and minimizing the role their cars can play in ridesharing long-term.

Expert Voices

AV companies are making progress on accessibility challenges

A woman in a wheelchair uses a ramp on a Renault EZ-GO concept car
Photo: Renault

AV companies are understandably focused on trying to perfect their technology to address trust issues among the general public, but meanwhile, they're working on designs for those who could benefit most from mobility technology — the elderly and people with disabilities.

Why it matters: AVs will need to have accessible control panels, chassis modifications that accommodate wheelchairs, and advanced human-machine communication technology, not only to realize industry promises around mobility access, but also to be ADA-compliant once they begin to operate as commercial transportation services.

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