Bruno is mobile at the start of his training. First the driving school training and then the individual vehicle conversion. A good year later and just in time for the start of his training, the newly qualified apprentice was able to take delivery of his vehicle and can now start his professional life independently and without having to rely on other people.
It was a very special day for Bruno. Not only is he starting his training as a technical product designer, he can now also drive his own car to his training location without any outside help. He passed his practical driving test at the PARAVAN driving school just over a year ago and has now been able to take delivery of his customized PARAVAN VW T6.1.
He has been in a wheelchair since he was two years old. So he is already used to driving a joystick, even if everything is different in the car. "When the wheelchair table is folded away and the joystick is there for driving instead, it's still a bit unusual for me, but it's very easy to handle," says the 19-year-old. He quickly got used to the slightly different handling of his 4-way joystick, which he uses to control the car with the help of the Space Drive driving and steering system. "It's not that different, right, left for steering, only the accelerator and brake are the other way round." Unlike with a wheelchair, he pushes the joystick forwards to brake and backwards to accelerate; he can accelerate or brake on the diagonal out of the bend.
"He enters the vehicle via a cassette lift and can drive his wheelchair directly into the belt in front of the steering wheel. His own protector belt offers additional protection. A backrest also moves behind the wheelchair, which is secured in the docking station, to provide additional support. The special feature: his wheelchair has a tabletop. He can move the tabletop to the side at the touch of a button. The 4-way joystick then moves into the correct position for driving. He can operate the secondary functions of his vehicle, such as indicators, windscreen wipers or sun visor, using the PARAVAN touch system, voice control or his smartphone app. An additionally installed camera system with environment recognition ensures a safe all-round view.
Three years ago, he took his first test drive to get a feel for whether it was even possible to drive a car. What followed was a marathon of assessments and applications. Just over a year ago, he successfully completed his practical driving test at the PARAVAN driving school and passed on his first attempt after three weeks of training. Driving instructor Horst Hilsenbeck didn't even notice that Bruno then had a year's break; he quickly settled back into the new situation.
"Speed level Drive", says Bruno and nothing happens. Driving instructor Horst Hilsenbeck smiles. "Try it in German." Clack and off we go. And then it starts to rain. "Windshield wiper interval" says Bruno to the car and the view is clear again. It took Bruno three hours and then his driving instructor was able to release him into his new mobile freedom with a clear conscience. "Very cool," he says happily. "Another piece of life with a lot more independence, freedom and it's just fun." Now he can give something back and drive the family.