Row 1 Airport Wheelchair System two

An ingenious wheelchair integration system for aeroplane cabins designed to dramatically improve the transfer and flying experience for passengers with limited mobility has won a prestigious award at the European Product Design Awards.

The brainchild of University of Limerick student Ciara Crawford, the Row 1 Airport Wheelchair System uses a clever design that enables wheelchair users to remain in one powerchair from check-in to arrival, reducing the number of seat transfers involved in a journey.

Explaining the motivation to address the needs of passengers with reduced mobility, Ciara outlined: “At the moment there is a lack of focus on the accessibility of aircraft or aircraft seats for people with reduced mobility.

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Row 1 Airport Wheelchair System three

“Most designs are focused on making the seats smaller and lighter, with less legroom. These designs reduced the amount of independence and freedom for passengers with reduced mobility.

“I designed a seat that would take the passenger from the check-in desk at the airport, to their destination, allowing for easy access to the aircraft and the bathroom onboard & hopefully allowing them to remain as independent as possible by reducing the number of seat transfer[s] they must do.”

The innovative wheelchair concept includes five steps for integrating the wheelchair into an aeroplane’s front seats once the passenger is onboard to remove the larger rear wheels and fit the wheelchair into place.

Row 1 Airport Wheelchair System one

“The seat is parked onto and strapped into the aircraft seat to allow for quick and easy boarding and disembarking,” she highlights in the design notes.

Impressing judges in the European Product Design Awards, the concept saw the Irish student bag the Emerging Product Designer of the Year 2019 award, alongside the Platinum Prize in the Transportation/Aircraft/Aerospace category.

The accolade for the unique wheelchair system comes as the air travel gains more industry attention following the International Air Transport Association (IATA)’s first Global Accessibility Symposium in November 2019.

The event saw airline carriers, international airports, regulatory bodies, industry experts and others come together to tackle the issues experienced by disabled passengers when travelling by air.

Recently, a futuristic Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) system by Japanese powerchair manufacturer WHILL has been trialled in airports across the world, where autonomous, self-driving wheelchairs navigate and transport passengers through busy terminals to their boarding gates.

https://i2.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Row-1-Airport-Wheelchair-System-two.jpg?fit=900%2C566&ssl=1https://i2.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Row-1-Airport-Wheelchair-System-two.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Calvin BarnettAwards & AchievementsNewsroomTrade Newsaeroplane,airline,airplane,Ciara Crawford,European Product Design Awards,Global Accessibility Symposium,International Air Transport Association,MaaS,mobility-as-a-service,Row 1 Airport Wheelchair System,wheelchair integration,wheelchair system,WHILLAn ingenious wheelchair integration system for aeroplane cabins designed to dramatically improve the transfer and flying experience for passengers with limited mobility has won a prestigious award at the European Product Design Awards. The brainchild of University of Limerick student Ciara Crawford, the Row 1 Airport Wheelchair System uses a...News, views & products for mobility, access and independent living professionals


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