Vibration-based Terrain Classification for Electric Powered Wheelchairs

E. Coyle, E.G. Collins, Jr., E. DuPont, D. Ding, H. Wang, R.A. Cooper, and G. Grindle (USA)


Advanced Wheelchair Systems, Electric Powered Wheelchairs, Terrain Classification, Vibrations


Automated terrain classification for electric powered wheelchairs (EPWs) has two primary motivations. First, certain terrains (e.g., sand and gravel) make wheelchair mobility more difficult. To alleviate this problem the wheelchair control system can be manually tuned for maximum speeds and/or accelerations to help adapt to various terrains. Terrain classification can then be used to automate the switch from one control mode to another. Second, terrain classification can help yield a better understanding of the surfaces traversed by various groups of wheelchair users. This can provide the data needed to develop wheelchairs geared to specific groups of users. This paper presents an algorithm for vibration-based terrain classification on EPWs. This algorithm has been shown to be highly accurate in offline analysis of experimental data. Future work will stress online implementation and algorithm improvements.

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