BraunAbility celebrates 50 years and wins the Inclusive Design Challenge – Inside Indiana Business
A global mobility vehicle company with roots in the Pulaski County town of Winimac marks two milestones. Carmel-based BraunAbility is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary by building 50 ADA-accessible wheelchair ramps for people who otherwise don’t have a safe way out of their homes. Additionally, the company won the $1 million prize in last week’s U.S. Department of Transportation Inclusive Design Challenge for a project conducted in partnership with Purdue University.
In an interview with Business of Health reporter Kylie Veleta, senior brand manager Megan Wegner said the company wanted to celebrate its anniversary by giving back to the community.
“We’ve partnered with this incredible Indiana-based organization. They call themselves SAWs, and they build ramps for low-income Hoosiers for free and help them get out of their homes safely,” he said. she said, “Obviously, the products we make help our customers and their families experience the world around them outside of their homes. But they’re useless, really, if you’re trapped inside.” from your own home, so we thought it was a perfect way to give back to our communities and ground our employees in our mission and the people who help every day.
Ramps are built not only in Indiana, but in other communities where BraunAbility has outlets.
The USDOT awarded the Inclusive Design Challenge’s first $1 million prize last Tuesday on the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The challenge was designed to find “innovative designs to improve mobility options for people with physical, sensory and cognitive disabilities and to provide equal access to automated vehicles”.
BraunAbility and Purdue University won the award with its EASI RIDER project, or Efficient, Accessible, and Safe Interaction in a Real Integrated Design Environment for Cyclists with Disabilities.
It includes an automated vehicle with universal design features for people with physical and sensory disabilities. Features a “smart ramp” that automatically deploys, an automated wheelchair docking system and an integrated user interface.
“We focused on people with reduced mobility or visual impairment, and this represents approximately 60% of the mobility-limiting disabled population, as they both have difficulty in physically interacting with technologies, with devices and instruments,” said Brad Duerstock, professor of engineering practice at Purdue. .
BraunAbility says the EASI RIDER helps users locate an automated vehicle, get on and off the vehicle, secure themselves and their mobility aids, and interact with the vehicle via the touchscreen and the voice command.
“This $1 million will go towards funding this research and development,” Wegner said. “We’re definitely focused on electric vehicles and our eyes are definitely on self-driving rides that can be a real game-changer for people with disabilities.”
You can learn more about EASI RIDER by clicking here.
BraunAbility was founded in Winimac in 1972 by Ralph Braun, who was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at age six and spent most of his life in a wheelchair. He and his father designed the first motorized scooter, and he later retrofitted a postal Jeep with manual controls and a hydraulic lift, which led to the creation of the company.
The company has grown to more than 1,200 employees serving more than 70 countries, according to its website. While BraunAbility’s headquarters are located in Carmel, the company still has a manufacturing presence in Winimac.