South Africa leads in new driving technology for the disabled

Author: JT Comms
Date: 23 Feb 2013


An innovative collaboration between several partners has resulted in the development of a prototype car set to make driving more accessible for disabled persons in South Africa. A partnership between the NGO Nicky’s Drive, the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and the Disabled People Inclusion Institute (DPII) has resulted in the first ever locally engineered prototype car using joy stick engineering.

The prototype will be unveiled at the Disability Drive Expo in Cape Town on 7 March, along with a racing car that is also being developed by the same teams. This racing car will be driven and maintained by disabled persons and is a combined project of Disabled People Inclusion Institute and CPUT.

Nicky Abdinor, a Clinical Physiologist, born without arms and with shortened legs, runs an NGO, Nicky’s Drive which raise funds for car adaptations for people with disabilities in South Africa. She herself drives a specially adapted vehicle which uses joystick steering technology that was developed in the UK. The vehicle she currently uses was donated to her in 2001.

Nicky was the inspiration behind the pioneering project between Cape Peninsula University of Technology and Nicky’s Drive. She has been the “guinea pig,” using her experience and knowledge of driving with joystick steering to guide the design and development of a new vehicle being adapted for research and development purposes right here in South Africa.

The CPUT Design and Engineering Departments, headed by Professor Oscar Philander and world-renowned design and universal access consultant, Professor Mugendi M’Rithaa, are currently completing the prototype/simulator vehicle to be unveiled at the Disability Drive Expo.

The launch of the prototype at the Disability Drive Expo will include a car museum in which adapted vehicles from drivers with various disabilities will be on display. Volkswagen is a partner of the Expo and has partly sponsored a VW Caddy for the Project to be adapted for Nicky Abdinor, which will also be on display along with the adapted prototype simulator vehicle.

The launch will also feature expert contributions by Prof Vuyisa Mazwi-Tanga:Vice-chancellor, CPUT, Minister Dr Blade Nzimande: Minister of Higher Education and Training, Deputy Minister: Hendrietta Ipeleng Bongopana-Zulu : Women, Children and People with Disabilities and Prof Sharon Shields and Prof Dayle Savage from Vanderbilt University, USA.

Nicky Abdinor: Founder and Chairperson for Nicky’s Drive will demonstrate the technology following the unveiling of the prototype and simulator for the collaborative car project.

The team maintains that by engineering this technology in South Africa, a world of affordable and accessible driving opportunities will open up for disabled persons in South Africa. In addition, spin off opportunities related to the research and development and eventually production and roll out of the technology will create jobs for disabled persons.


Note to the Editors:


When & where is the Disability Drive Expo?

7 March 2013, at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology Bellville Campus from 08H30 – 13h00

What is being launched?

The CPUT Design and Engineering Departments (headed by Professor Oscar Philander and world-renowned design and universal access consultant, Professor Mugendi M’Rithaa) will unveil the prototype/simulator vehicle using joy stick technology for disabled drivers.
A racing car, to be driven and maintained by disabled persons. It is a combined project of DPII and CPUT.

Who is Disabled people Inclusion Institute (DPII)

Disabled People Inclusion Institute is an organization with a vision of creating a world class synchronous disability sector.

It has a 10 year plan to improve access and participation of people with disabilities in every aspect of community life.

It challenges all levels of government, business and communities to work together to make this vision a reality.

The vision is underpinned by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. DPII appreciates that the vision of inclusive and enabling communities is a shared responsibility of all.

Partners of the Expo and who will be at the Expo

Nicky’s Drive
Vanderbilt University, T/N, USA,
Volkswagen SA
USA Embassy of CT
Usebenza at Stellenbosch University
Ori Premium

Who is Nicky’s Drive?

NGO advocating for driving adaptations and adapted vehicles for disabled persons in South Africa.
Partner and inspiration behind the joy stick engineered prototype to be launched by CPUT / DPII.

Media Spokesperson/s:

Neville Kleinhans - Director DPII / Professor Mugendi M’Rithaa – Universal Access Consultant, CPUT

Tel: (021) 511 8048

For the programme of the day, media interviews and enquiries or access to high resolution pictures please contact Dee’s on media@jtcomms.co.za or 011 788 7632.

Issued by JT Communication Solutions on Behalf of Disabled people Inclusion Institute (DPII)

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