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Towter Transporter is designed to make moving a wheelchair easier

By

August 25, 2014

The Towter Transporter can reportedly be towed by any vehicle equipped with a standard tra...

The Towter Transporter can reportedly be towed by any vehicle equipped with a standard trailer hitch

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When someone has a powered wheelchair that needs to be transported, the purchase of a wheelchair-accessible van is often required. Canadian inventor Len Wideman, however, doesn’t think that people should have to go to such an extreme. That’s why he created the Towter Transporter. It’s a climate-controlled trailer that’s designed for the easy loading and unloading of wheelchairs, and it can be towed by any standard-hitch-equipped vehicle.

The Towter features a powered loading platform that lowers to the ground when the wheelchair (or scooter) is going on and coming off. That platform is automatically raised for transit, plus an integrated cover comes down to shield the chair from rain and dust. By contrast, most other wheelchair trailers have a ramp that the wheelchair must climb, and the chair is left exposed to the elements.

And no, users don’t stay on their wheelchair while it’s being towed. They would need to either have enough mobility to make it from their chair into the main vehicle on their own, or have people on hand who could carry them. To save them from having to get back into a freezing-cold wheelchair in the winter, a thermostat-controlled heating system keeps it warm while on the road (or at least, it will on the finished version).

The Towter features a powered loading platform that lowers to the ground when the wheelcha...

The trailer additionally utilizes a smartphone-activated self-hitching system, along with a self-parking system that uses an onboard electric motor, GPS and sensors to guide the trailer away from the towing vehicle once it’s unhitched.

Wideman and his team are currently seeking contributions for the commercial development of the Towter Transporter, on Indiegogo. There’s no word on the estimated price of a final production version, other than that it should be about a quarter the cost of getting a van converted.

More information is available in the pitch video below.

Sources: Towter Transporter, Indiegogo

UPDATE (Aug.28/14): Regarding the loading of disabled passengers in and out of the towing vehicle, a company representative has informed us of the following: "The Towter will have a user transfer system. The wheelchair can pull up beside an open vehicle, and a pneumatic transfer platform will slide the user over into the vehicle. The Towter app can then steer the wheelchair to the loading position behind the Towter trailer. An automated arm will then load the chair into the trailer, and lock it in place for transport."

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
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6 Comments

Unless parking spaces are very much larger in Canada I can see a problem with this - where do you park it? Even if you can move it it still requires a parking spot unless they assume it will only be taken from one house to another house.

They would be better developing an electric lift that fits to the back of a station wagon that raises the chair and allows it to be moved into the back of the wagon.

ivan4
25th August, 2014 @ 12:36 pm PDT

Also, the vans are equipped so that the person requiring the wheelchair can get in and out of the wheelchair while in the van or can remain in the chair at the drivers position. This would only be useful if the person in the wheelchair always required someone else to be with them and assist them into/out of the chair. Not saying it's a bad idea, would increase vehicle availability for such a scenario but only for that scenario.

FM
25th August, 2014 @ 02:59 pm PDT

I'd prefer a lift that replaces a tailgate and folds flat back against the vehicle, like the ones for loading trucks or vans.

The Skud
25th August, 2014 @ 07:54 pm PDT

Only those people that not savvy about Wheelchair Physics. Are going to think this a great idea, 6-months after that. There going to be looking for some SAP to buy it from them. 6-months, after that, they'll be lucky if they can give away.

The 1 TaiN
26th August, 2014 @ 09:32 am PDT

In the U.K. you need an extra test to tow a trailer unless you passed your test before 1997.

A system with a remotely operated swing arm winch would be more practical and in fact do already exist.

See this amazing example



esar
26th August, 2014 @ 10:44 am PDT

You need to add a remote control package to the chair to load it int the carrier and bring it back to the car door.

I would prefer doing the single wheel trailer trick to reduce total vehicle length as well as avoid backing up issues.

Slowburn
27th August, 2014 @ 12:52 am PDT
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