Taking a ride in MIT’s self-driving wheelchair

Over the past few months, CSAIL’s (MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory) self-driving wheelchair has become a familiar sight around the MIT halls. It’s a nice little rolling advertisement for the lab’s work — and more importantly, it’s a great opportunity to test the mobility device in a real world setting. As students wander by in groups, deep in conversation or face down in their smartphones, their paths are unpredictable and collisions are a very real possibility.

This kind of real world testing is exactly why the chair exists in the first place. It’s hard to test autonomous cars in out on the streets. It turns out there’s a lot of red tape involved when it comes to trying out driverless technology in the real world — particularly in a…

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