The Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology, SMAR, has been developing an autonomous wheelchair. Daniela Rus, the director of the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, indicated that the project started in 2016. Currently SMART is running tests with two units in Singapore, and another two at MIT.
The autonomous wheelchairs use three different LiDAR sensors that work collectively to produce a map. The wheelchair can then use an algorithm to determine where the unit is located on the map. The autonomous wheelchair is equipped with six wheels, which allow it to make tight turns and fit through doors.
Daniela Rus spoke further about the rationale behind the project, "When we visited several retirement communities, we realized that the quality of life is dependent on mobility. We want to make it really easy for people to move around."
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