THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: People with disability often face discrimination and are unable to get jobs. Coming to their aid is a group of mechanical engineering students from Mohandas College of Engineering and Technology in Thiruvananthapuram. They have designed and developed a product — Assistive Driving Mechanism for Rickshaw — for the differently-abled community.
The five-member team behind the assisted driving mechanism for the handicapped people include Vishnu M, Krishnadas S, Azhar Mohammed, Gokul B and Vishnu G L. They lead a startup, Heyleyx Humboldt, which is incubated in Mohandas College of Engineering and Technology.
This was a project idea proposed to the students by their seniors in college. “Differently-abled people find it difficult to commute to places. This product is expected to transform their lives,” says Azhar.
This product can be installed in two-wheelers and three-wheelers. “Those who have no hands can control the vehicle completely using their legs. The product can further be customised for those with no legs. This will enable the differently-abled community to travel freely without depending on others. More importantly, this can aid them in earning a living,” says Azhar.
Mentored by their professor Pradeep Raj, the project was first tested on a scooter and only later on an autorickshaw. "The students had first developed V4D, which was a government-funded project. The vehicle was designed to help an armless person travel without assistance,” says Pradeep.
The team secured first prize for the project in TEKON-2018 held at Sahrdaya College of Engineering and Technology in Thrissur and also won the TCS-2018 Young Innovator Award. Later, it was presented in the National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj in Hyderabad.
Also, the project was presented in MITS-ESIGELEC Hackathon 2K19 held in Muthoot Institute of Science and Technology in Kochi, where they secured the first place.
Pradeep also said that they plan to implement the assisted driving mechanism mostly in e-autorickshaws so that it is environmental-friendly and also help handicapped people get a licence to drive. “With this product, any person who is handicapped can commute to places with ease,” said Pradeep.
Although the prototype has been made, the startup team is yet to launch it among the disabled community due to lack of funds.