Italdesign and Etisalat today announce the renewal of their collaboration, bringing – as a world-premiere, the first demonstrator of WheeM-i (Wheelchair Mobility Inclusion) – the first smart mobility proposal designed for wheelchair users, to Etisalat’s stand at the Dubai World Trade Centre during GITEX Technology Week.
WheeM-i is the bicycle-sharing system equivalent for wheelchairs. It consists of “wheel-on”, meaning the user can roll on it directly with the wheelchair, semi-autonomous, electric devices, located in urban hubs, making travelling around cities much simpler and easier for people with lightweight manual wheelchairs.
Users will be able to book WheeM-i through an app, reaching the closest hub and getting on board the pre-booked WheeM-i with their own wheelchairs. At the end of the service, users will return it to the closest hub, making it available for the next ones.
Massimo Martinotti, Italdesign Head of Mobility Solutions, says: “WheeM-i is one of the many projects and ideas we’re developing within Italdesign new department dedicated to mobility solutions. For the second consecutive year, we are here at GITEX after having showcased Pop.Up Next, our vision for a modular flying car to overcome traffic congestions in the future. Both WheeM-i and Pop.Up projects reflect ‘future mobility’, providing new solutions that improve the current mobility environment and simultaneously extend the inclusivity of the services. If they are ready to go on the market or if they need some more time to be fully developed, the vision remains the same”.
“We thank Etisalat for the unique opportunity to be on their stand in Gitex and their efforts to improve the state of living for citizens”, Italdesign CEO Jörg Astalosch, adds. “As a company providing development services to the worldwide mobility industry, we strongly believe that future mobility must have a positive impact on everyone’s life. WheeM-i is part of this vision which we really hope to bring to reality. Dubai is the perfect scenario to implement these future mobility projects, and Etisalat is the right partner to further develop them.”
WheeM-i features integrated systems that help users to avoid any collisions with fixed or mobile obstacles and is designed to help them to easily overcome architectural barriers. Connected via an app, it will enable users to interact with the device, with other wheelchair users, other means of transport and transport applications (via API).
GITEX visitors will be able to witness live demonstrations of the WheeM-i. The demonstrator will simulate a day-in-the-life experience, from booking the device via the dedicate app, to the selection of the route, up to the simulation of the use itself, with the possibility to roll on WheeM-i with an actual wheelchair.