Hyundai launches ride-hailing service for wheelchair users – modded Palisade, Kia Telluride SUVs to serve

Hyundai Motor Group (HMG) is introducing EnableLA, a new universal mobility service to assist people with mobility barriers in Los Angeles, California. Think of it as a Grab or Uber for wheelchair users.

The service will use Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride SUVs that have been modified to allow wheelchair access in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The modified wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs) are equipped with UV-free antimicrobial lights for improved sanitation, and are operated by drivers who have been trained to aid users.

The pilot programme is the first WAV service in the Los Angeles County to utilise modified SUVs. The service is powered by ButterFLi, an LA-based platform provider for people with accessibility challenges. Rides can be booked for weekdays between 7am to 7pm via the ButterFLi app, website or phone.

“The pandemic has worsened the mobility situations for the disabled and elderly, especially wheelchair users. Under our vision toward Human-Centered Mobility, we want to make our services more accessible and inclusive to better ensure universal access for everyone and ultimately help achieve freedom of mobility for all,” said Youngcho Chi, president and chief innovation officer of HMG.

EnableLA is part of HMG’s Universal Mobility Project (UMP) to better serve those with physical, social and economic barriers through broad application of its smart mobility solutions. EnableLA focuses on people who rely on wheelchairs for mobility, but UMP aims to expand it to include the elderly, pregnant women, children and low-income families to deliver mobility freedom to all.

Since 2020, the Korean carmaker has taken part in the World Economic Forum (WEF)’s Inclusivity Quotient, a global initiative that aims to address the needs of underserved communities through inclusive and sustainable accessibility options. HMG and WEF are working together on EnableLA to examine the core principles and guidelines required for universal mobility. The group will apply WEF’s universal mobility principles in the EnableLA service and share the outcome with the WEF.

GALLERY: 2021 Hyundai Palisade

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