SAVANNAH (15-Dec-10) - Over 125,000 Americans are paraplegic with the population growing by 11,000 each year. Many of the current driving options available to paraplegics are inefficient and difficult to use. To address the growing needs, a group of Georgia Tech Savannah (GTS) students created a Paraplegic Assisted Driving System (PADS). PADS can be installed in any automatic vehicle and gives individuals who lack control of their lower extremities the ability to drive.
Created for their Electrical and Computer Engineering Senior Design Capstone Project, the students have outfitted a golf cart to demonstrate a system that could be used in a variety of transportation systems. By autonomously controlling the accelerator and brake pedals using object recognition software, the driver is solely responsible for steering the vehicle.
A laptop and webcam that runs object recognition software is placed on the dashboard of the vehicle and is responsible for locating and recognizing various traffic signs. A speed sensor is attached to the vehicle to track the current speed. When the camera detects a traffic sign, the information is sent to a microcontroller and compared with the current speed of the vehicle. The current speed and speed zone are then compared to determine the actuator response needed to stop, speed up, or slow down the vehicle.
"Students combine the knowledge they have acquired over their undergraduate engineering courses to build a working prototype model with meaningful software and hardware elements," says Elliot Moore II, associate professor at Georgia Tech Savannah and professor of the senior design class. "It's been exciting to help the students refine their ideas and create a project with real-world capabilities that could potentially help thousands."
VEHICLE PRESENTATION AND DEMONSTRATION
Thursday, December 16
2 p.m. Report Presentation
3 p.m. Vehicle Demonstration
Georgia Tech Savannah
210 Technology Circle
Savannah, Ga. 31407
Program Administration Resource Building (PARB), Room 128
Photo and video opportunities available throughout presentation and demonstration. Media are encouraged to attend in order to obtain photos and footage of students demonstrating the vehicle.
Supplemental Information including photos and videos: tinyurl.com/gtsavseniordesign