Startup Uses Mapping and Augmented Reality to Aid Wheelchair-User Navigation

Small Business Innovation Research
Route4u App Screen. (Image Credit: elte.hu)

A New initiative uses smartphones to improve navigation for wheelchair users to make it easier to traverse Irish pathways and the streets of Dublin.

Route4U won Enterprise Ireland Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Wayfinding Challenge, to try and find a way to improve accessibility for people with disabilities in public spaces.

Route4U compiled data on footpath obstacles, surface quality, and kerb heights in crossings, as well as widths and inclines of footpaths, and was then able to provide route planning and turn-by-turn navigation for wheelchair users, customized to everyone’s own abilities.

Small Business Innovation Research
Route4U Wheelchair corridors. (Image credit: Route4U.org)

The application is kept constantly up to date by volunteers who can be either able bodied people who downloaded the app and report obstacles, or wheelchair users who switch on an auto-survey function as they roll along footpaths, activating their phone sensors to collect data automatically.

Route4U Is now actively working in cities in  Hungary, UK, Ireland and France.