Proof that if you’re disabled and want to drive a normal car in China, not only can you get a license, you don’t have to necessarily drive a wheelchair-friendly type of car.

An impressive video shared by @TripInChina on Twitter shows a disabled driver in China, whose lost function in one or both legs, single-handedly (no assistance needed) retrieve his wheelchair from the back of his Audi SUV all thanks to a robotic arm mounted in the back that brings his chair from the trunk to the driver.

Check out the amazing robotic arm in action below.

To be honest, before seeing this video I did not know this type of consumer-level technology to assist the disabled existed.

Before, I thought if could not use one or both of your legs and wanted to drive you had to either use wheel-chair friendly type of Van and SUV or, if you wanted to drive a more conventional looking car, had to use a special bumper-hitch mounted lift system that, like this robotic arm, assists you getting to and stowing away your wheelchair.

For example, this wheel-chair accessible vehicle dubbed the MV-1 was made specifically for wheel-chair bound drivers.

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And this robotic arm lift, while capable of doing 75 percent of the maneuvers as the wheelchair arm spotted in China, does not stow your chair in a trunk, instead leaving your chair mounted out back increasing the overall length of your car and exposing your chair (expensive) to the elements.

It should be noted this in-trunk wheelchair lift is not just found in China, and is, in fact technology that’s already, at least, 14 years old.

Here’s a video of an wheelchair trunk-to-driver-robot in action dubbed “Robot 2001” from 2008.

And today, there’s a New Zealand mobility company called Abiliquip which manufactures what looks like the gold standard of this type of robotic arm called the AbiLoader.

According to Abiliquip,

“Clever but reliable mechanics open the hatch and deliver the chair to you in 30 seconds, from just one switch operation. A flick of the release latch, send the arm back, and you are on your way!”

Here’s the Abiloader in action mounted in a Porsche Macan.

The robotic arm spotted in China is either an Abiloader or one of its (now) competitors.

Despite the amazing mechanism that this robotic arm is, Twitter users also wanted to know how he was able to get a license (in China.)

Despite the ubiquity of disabled people being able to drive in other parts of the world, this concept might be foreign to drivers in countries where car ownership is a relatively new thing.

According to Facts and Details, private car ownership was not allowed until 1994.

According to this response from @Chris6BTC,

“Disabled people can get a driver’s license. It’s a very early rule… If the left lower limb is disabled, they can get C2 like ordinary people.”

If the right leg is disabled or both legs are disabled, to take the C5, the vehicle needs to be equipped with special auxiliary facilities.”

The FIA’s guide to disabled motoring in China (linked here) goes into detail and corroborates what @Chris6TC commented.

This robotic arm and licensing shows that, despite disabilities and where you live, if you really want to drive, not only can you, there’s technology out there that can assist you.

It’s worth mentioning, according to Evika, these trunk-to-driver robotic arms aren’t exactly cheap and start out at $11,990.


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