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Terrain-Dependent Driving Control for Medical Robots and Mobility Assist Devices

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Terrain-Dependent Driving Control for Medical Robots and Mobility Assist Devices

The medical assistance and safety department of the Chobani Industries recently bought a series of medical devices named "Medassist" from CMU RI. These device were said to be able to transport wounded people or disabled veterans safely and comfortably from one location to another and autonomously do so on difficult surfaces like sand, ice & snow where transportation became very difficult. This was essential, given the nature of remote areas their factories were located in.

Unfortunately a few days later, in an small but intensive explosion in Canada, Mark is wounded and stuck at the factory site. The medical team receives information that he needs immediate medical attention and has to be transported from the site to the nearest medical station almost 5 miles away. The nurse first switches the device 'ON', inside the medical warehouse. The LED on the dashboard gets ON indicating that the system is ready to be driven. Subsequently, he drives the device to the area where Mark lies injured and opens the wider door from the top which acts as a ramp. Though first aid has been provided, the nurse still had to make sure to be very careful while transporting him. He moves the stretcher out from within the compartment. On pressing a button the stretcher decreases in height to ground level so that the nurse can move Mark onto it. The nurse then straps the safety belts so that he is not moved much during travel. The LED on the strap's lock indicates to the nurse that the patient has been securely strapped on. The nurse then opens the smaller door and sits in his seat behind the patient and puts on his own seat belt. He then switches on the autonomous driving control system and steers the joystick to control the device. Since he requires immediate attention, the nurse drives at a high speed of 20 Km/hr. After driving for about 500 m he sees a region of gravel. The device provides a feedback to the nurse, using audible beeps that there is a region of rough terrain ahead and it gives him 10 seconds to opt to drive manually. Since the nurse was busy attending to the patient, he does not respond. After waiting for 10 seconds, even without the nurse's input, the device automatically slows down to 3 Km/h. Once on the gravel, the device autonomously changes the speed by itself according to the surface to ensure safe transportation across the gravel.

After travelling a few miles, small patch of ice covers the road. Moving forward, over the ice, the nurse feels that he was losing control on the device. But almost instantaneously the Anti-lock Braking System engages and gives the control again to the nurse. He then maneuvers the device successfully to the medical station.

Upon reaching the medical station, he switches off the device, unbuckles and leaves the vehicle

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