Guillaume Vailland will defend his PhD titles “Power Wheelchair Navigation : From Virtual Reality Simulation Towards Real Smart Designs” tuesday december, 14th at 9h45
Mobility is the basis for an active and comfortable life, especially in terms of independence, social activities and professional career. As such, the loss of mobility is a major problem frequently experienced by people with disabilities. Over the years, many assistive devices have been developed to help these people maintaining a certain degree of mobility, with the most used being the power wheelchair. However, despite their efficiency in regaining mobility, power wheelchairs appear as a mixed blessing as they are hard to access and hard to use. Driving a power wheelchair is a combination of the driver’s skills and the wheelchair’s onboard intelligence. Thus, this thesis builds on these two research axes to propose ideas and user-centered solutions to facilitate and improve power wheelchair navigation in complex situations. In particular, one of the contributions consists in a power wheelchair driving simulator able, thanks to virtual reality, to simulate any situation. This simulator can be used for adapted driving training, but also for the development of smart power wheelchairs related solutions such as the second contribution which consists in a comfortable path planner. In fact, it paves the way for intelligent designs of power wheelchair navigation solutions.