The best motorized wheelchair can help users remain independent and take them places they might not be able to go otherwise, and Intellichair offers some of the best motorized wheelchair technology available.

But in the future, wheelchair technology might include intelligent robots that help users even more.

A professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology has developed an intelligent, all-terrain wheelchair that’s equipped with much of the same sensor and guidance technology as self-driving cars, ZDNet reported.

“Most existing electric wheelchairs do not really include navigation systems,” said Ming Liu,  Assistant Professor of Electronic and Computer Engineering at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. “Our project enables the robotic wheelchair to navigate in a very complex environment and to automatically move around according to the 3-D information it perceives.”

The wheelchair uses a  sensor, which is a detection system that works like radr but uses light from a laser. Radar is an object-detection system that uses radio waves to determine the range, angle, or velocity of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain.

The robot chair helps the human user make decisions in certain difficult situations.

“When the robot moves around, it creates a 3-D representation of the environment, and then the robot will analyze this map so that it knows where the difficult parts are and how to transform itself so it can automatically move from point A to point B” using its tank-like treads, Liu said.

With the help of its tank-like treads, the wheelchair can transform to climb stairs.

“This benefits end users greatly in that they’re able to move freely in areas without lifts,” says Liu.

Liu believes that healthcare robots like his will be in much wider use in the next five to 10 years.