Five teams from around the country just returned from a trip of the year, presenting at the headquarters of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Tasked with designing for those with disabilities, these teams met the challenge and shared innovative ideas with top executives within Chrysler’s Tech Plaza. Learn about some of their work below!

In just nine weeks teams from UCLA, Northwestern, RISD| Brown, Case Western & CIA, and University of Illinois sought to understand the driver and passenger experience for those with physical or mental disabilities. Inspired by partners established locally, teams went out to interview end-users to learn about their experiences first-hand and they uncovered some poignant insights and key areas for improvement.

Identified Needs and Opportunities:

  • Children with limited mobility control, such as those with cerebral palsy have a hard time buckling themselves into their seatbelt. How can we make it easier for those with limited mobility to more easily buckle themselves?
  • Adults with paraplegia find it excruciating to find and wait for help while at the gas station. How can we make it easier for those with paraplegia to secure help while at the pump?
  • Those with epilepsy might feel a sense of guilt for driving for fear of having a seizure and accidentally hurting someone while on the road. How can we give drivers with epilepsy the confidence to know when it is safe to drive?
  • Parents in wheelchairs struggle to get their goods in an out of the trunk. How can we make it easier for parents in wheelchairs to get stuff in and out of the car?
  • Teenage drivers with only one arm have difficulty sharing their adapted car with the rest of their family. How can we create one steering wheel for those with all abilities?

Although their solutions can’t be shared in great detail, their concepts ranged from funnel shaped buckles, trunk drawers to an automatic gas assist system and more. Check out photos of all the teams below:

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This was the second year DFA worked with Chrysler (now FCA) and we look forward to more collaborations to come!