Extending mobility: Making cars smarter

The car epitomises individual mobility. At REHACARE 2016 from 28 September to 1 October car manufacturers and vehicle converters are exhibiting the latest technical aids enabling mobility-impaired people to enjoy the unmitigated pleasure of driving.

Comeback in the C-Class

Fiat returned to the mid-range vehicle category (C-segment, Golf class) last year with its new Tipo. In 2016, the series was rounded off with a 5-door and an estate Car version. All three body types can now be converted for independent drivers. Cooperation partners of the Fiat Autonomy Programme will be providing information on the varied conversion options at REHACARE. “Conversion usually takes only three to five days,” explains Norbert Wiederschein, head of the Fiat Autonomy Programme. (Hall/Stand 6/D69)

Driving aids ex works

A total of 15 driving aids are available ex works for various Mercedes-Benz models. The range includes control and steering aids, manual operation systems, pedal modifications and equipment for comfortable entry and exit. At REHACARE, visitors can inspect the current aids for the first time in the new E-Class, the Citan high-roof estate Car and the V-Class luxury people carrier launched in 2014. The Mercedes-Benz Cars Modification Center at the Sindelfingen plant is responsible for installation. (Hall/Stand 6/A87)

Brand-new apps

70 kilometres further south, in Pfronstetten- Aichelau, vehicle converter Paravan has its headquarters. The Swabian company unveiled its Paravan Touch System for control of such secondary vehicle functions as windscreen wipers, indicator lights and power windows back in 2015. Its nerve centre is a 7-inch touch display installed ergonomically in the cockpit of a converted vehicle for disabled drivers.

With the aid of an optional Wi-Fi module, the majority of the functions can also be executed by an app on a smartphone or tablet computer – a world first, Paravan claims. The app makes unlocking the vehicle and deploying the wheelchair lift particularly easy. “We’re presenting the app extension in a fully functional pilot series version on one of our driving instruction vehicles in REHACARE’s outdoor area,” says Paravan Marketing Manager Alexander Nerz.The converters are currently working on a solution for controlling the primary vehicle functions (accelerator, brake and steering) via the app. The purpose of this is to enable wheelchair users to manoeuvre their vehicles out of parking spaces or into garages from outside the vehicle. (Hall/Stand 6(C51)

Sodermanns GmbH also has a new app in its programme. At its stand in Hall 6, the vehicle converter from Wassenberg is exhibiting a VW Transporter with an under-vehicle lift operated by a smartphone app. Also on show at REHACARE, says Managing Director Frank Sodermanns, is the Space Drive, a new wheelchair loading system for rigid wheelchairs up to 64 cm wide with digital control aids. This has been designed especially for people with minimal residual strength and minimal motor skills. The new VW Caddy 4, which Sodermanns has equipped among other things with an adaptable and rotating seat for children with multiple disabilities, will also be premiered. (Hall/Stand 6/C51)

About REHACARE INTERNATIONAL, Düsseldorf

REHACARE INTERNATIONAL is Europe’s foremost trade fair for rehabilitation and care. Some 900 exhibitors from 37 countries are meeting from 28 September to 1 October for their biggest trade fair event where they will present innovative products and services enabling people with disabilities, care needs and in old age to lead largely self-determined lives. REHACARE is open from Wednesday to Friday from 10 am to 6 pm and on Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm. Further information on admission tickets to the trade fair and congress can be obtained online at www.rehacare.de.

Düsseldorf, August 2016