If you’ve ever tried to travel with mobility equipment, you’ll know it can be really easy or a hellish experience. As much as things have improved over the last few years, there still remains far too many gaps and half thought out accessibility options. The world is simply not designed for everyones needs, and traveling with a wheelchair or power chair can often end up frustrating and upsetting. The worlds first Accessible Tourism International Summit in Dubai showcased some of tomorrows technology that Emirati engineers are hoping will improves peoples lives for years to come.
Amongst some of the technological marvels on show was a new wave in power chair control. Users are no longer limited to using a joystick to control their travel. New control systems are able to discern the intended direction of travel form voice commands and also movements of the users head.
But it wasn’t just wheelchairs that got futuristic, there was a whole wealth of new technology on show to the public, including many revolutionary applications. One of which, developed by Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), uses artificial intelligence to aid visually impaired people find their way around busy areas. Dubbed ‘smart pilot’ it can also convert written instructions into verbal directions including travel schedules, signs for metro gates, stairs, escalators and station gates.
“RTA has teamed up with a specialist technology company for the debut of this technology on a test run at Rashidiya Metro Station for a certain period. Then, RTA will study and analyse the results and their impact on riders of this category,” - Abdul Mohsen Ibrahim Younes, CEO of RTA’s Rail Agency.
In fact the RTA displayed quite a few innovations including a ‘non’ transport card, featuring embossed letters and textures to make it desirable to anyone. Clearly accessibility is a huge focus in the Hugo of travel that is the Middle East, we might even see some on show at Naidex 2020 - we’ll be there to find out.
Mark Bates Ltd