Inheritance by Katherine Groesbeck

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Universal Access to Autonomous Taxi

Solji Lee. "Universal Access to Autonomous Taxi." MDes Thesis, University of Washington, 2021.

According to the rapid progression of self-driving technologies, self-driving taxis are expected to be commercialized and narrow the social and economic isolation of people with disabilities by offering a new means of personal transportation. However, there is a lack of interest and research on increasing informational and physical accessibility so that self-driving taxis can widely be used as transportation for people with disabilities. This paper presents eight universal access principles (four principles each in two layers: digital and physical) and detailed examples describing the principles. The eight principles build on (1) existing literature studies mainly based on the prominent universal design principles from NC State University, and (2) robot-taxi journey analysis of users with three types of disabilities (wheelchair users, blindness, and limblessness). Moreover, I have repeatedly verified and co-designed examples of the eight principles through interviews with people with disabilities. This thesis facilitates discussion of how much universal accessibility of self-driving cars is necessary and essential and leads to more research and design.

Additional information, including an essay about Lee's thesis, on the Graduate Showcase website.

Read about Lee's research in progress in her December 2020 Medium post.

Watch Lee's thesis presentation from June 4, 2021.

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