In a bid to “bring back the joy of air travel” for those with limited mobility, a consortium of UK companies including Priestman Goode has developed a concept for a one-person autonomous airport vehicle.
Developed in collaboration with mobility company Centaur Robotics and software company Naurt, the accessible Geo concept is a self-balancing two-wheeled personal electric vehicle that fits into the space of a dining chair.
It can drive autonomously without the need for pedals or a steering wheel, and has an onboard virtual assistant that can provide directions and send reminders to help get passengers to their gate on time.
“In the research we conducted for Geo, one person described it as ‘being held in a corral like cattle’,” she added. “Better design has the potential to make the experience more equal and joyful.”
This is especially crucial as the number of people requiring assistance on flights has doubled in the UK since 2015, with many “suffering degrading substandard treatment” at the airport, according to a recent open letter sent to the British Prime Minister from charity Disability Rights UK.
“Such instances have a huge human impact on the dignity of Disabled passengers and severely impact their confidence when travelling by air, meaning that many passengers with assistance needs will, in many cases, avoid travelling on airlines altogether,” the charity wrote.