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Firms promote electric wheelchairs as more Japanese turn in their driving permits

The Japan Times

The government and manufacturers are promoting electric wheelchairs as a means of transportation to replace automobiles at a time when elderly people are increasingly returning their driver's licenses. Suzuki Motor Corp. is one of the country's largest makers of electric wheelchairs. Its mainstay ET4D model, priced at ¥368,000, has advanced safety functions and it can even give verbal instructions when it approaches a steep slope, according to the automaker. The ET4D also features a large basket and a range of as much as 31 km after a full charge, according to the company. Startup Whill Inc. sells electric wheelchairs controlled by hand levers.


Self-driving wheelchairs tested at Haneda Airport

The Japan Times

Trials have begun at Haneda Airport in Tokyo on next-generation self-driving electric wheelchairs to help elderly and other people get to boarding gates more easily. Japan Airlines aims to start using self-driving wheelchairs as early as the business year that starts next April. Currently, JAL offers manual wheelchairs at airports across the country. The self-driving wheelchairs JAL aims to introduce are designed to allow users to move without any escort. They automatically return to their home positions after use, making it unnecessary for workers to go and collect them.


California officer saves man stuck on train tracks in wheelchair

BBC News

A California police officer has been praised after taking quick action when she saw a 66-year-old man in a wheelchair on the tracks as a train was approaching. He was taken to hospital after being saved.


American Airlines lifts wheelchair weight limit after blogger was rejected from flight: Report

FOX News

Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com. American Airlines has lifted its weight limit on wheelchairs. Over the summer, the airline created a rule preventing wheelchairs heavier than 300 or 400 pounds from being loaded onto some of its smaller aircraft. However, when travel blogger and triple amputee John Morris wrote about how he was rejected from a flight in October because his power wheelchair, which weighs about 450 pounds, was too heavy, American Airlines said it would reconsider the policy.


Uber gets a wheelchair-friendly option in London

Mashable

Uber has just launched its first wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV) car in London: uberWAV. SEE ALSO: Venice's gondolas finally become accessible to wheelchair users From 4 p.m. Tuesday, wheelchair users in the city can request a wheelchair accessible private car by hitting the new uberWAV option on the Uber app. Developed with support from accessibility organisations Scope, Whizz-Kidz and London's Transport for All, the uberWAV vehicles are fitted with a rear-entry ramp, a winch and restraints. UberWAV drivers have received Disability Equality Training to ensure customer care, etiquette and appropriate language meet the standards of disability organisations, the ride-sharing service said in a press release. When asked about the number of cars available, a spokesperson for Uber told Mashable that it is launching the service with 55 vehicles, and plans to expand to have more than 100 vehicles on uberWAV in the coming months.