My Car Quest

June 5, 2023

Mazda’s MX-30 Self-Empowerment Vehicle to Help People with Disabilities Drive with Their Hands

Japanese auto manufacturer, Mazda, is launching a new technology that will enable people with a handicap enhance their mobility. A hands-controlled driving system can be inserted in cars that helps individuals with disabilities drive using their hands. Others can continue to control the vehicle through regular pedals. The company began taking orders for the improved MX-30 Self-empowerment sport utility vehicle (SUV) which is available in hybrid and electric versions. The move is in keeping with the company’s commitment to disability inclusion.

Inclusive Products

Many people in the world experience some form of disability. The effects of an infirmity on a person are diverse ranging from pain and confusion to limited mobility and social interaction. For example, children living with cerebral palsy may have issues with movement, posture, and developmental delays. However, transitioning into adulthood can be different for every person with disability according to the CPFN. While some symptoms may worsen, others can live nearly normal lives and may be able to drive without a problem.

For those whose lower extremities are incapacitated, maneuvering a vehicle by using the hands is possible with the new SUV proposed by Mazda. Drivers control the car with their hands touching a button on the steering wheel to accelerate and pushing a lever to brake. The great thing about this new tech is that other members of the family without handicap can also use the car by using the pedals. In addition, the model includes a fold out board to assist wheelchair users get into the driver’s seat easily. Honda, another Japanese brand, is already selling a hands-free vehicle targeting consumers with upper-body disabilities. Pedals are used to steer and shift gears and buttons to operate turn signals.

The Valuable 500

The Valuable 500 is a global initiative that was launched during the General Meeting of the World Economic Forum in 2019. Its main aim is to inspire business leaders to improve disability inclusion in their companies. Mazda joined the Valuable 500 group in January 2022. Along with Bridgestone Corporation, they are the only two Japanese automotive companies on the list. Note that Mazda has long been promoting accessible products. In fact, its efforts at inclusion started with the 1961 release of a 2-speed automatic transmission model, the Mazda R360 which drew inspiration from the company’s former President, Tsuneji Matsuda, who had a disability in his left foot. It was also the first Japanese automaker to launch a wheelchair accessible transport in 1995.

Today, Mazda is not only known for its rotary engine technology, but it also prides itself as an automaker that caters to the needs of people with infirmities. The company has 4 models of vehicles that are disability-friendly including cars that are fitted with rotating passenger seats, lift-up passenger seat, and hand control unit. A wheelchair-friendly vehicle is also one of the models offered by the brand.

Mazda continues to evolve as a reliable and efficient brand producing cars that not only look stylish but also high performing. Above all, it is conscious of its corporate social responsibility thereby, producing vehicles that are accessible to everyone including those with frailties.

Mazda Steering wheel


  1. wallace wyss says

    I think this effort by Mazda justifies further development in autonomous cars. Though i don’t trust the level 5 with no steering wheel or pedals (thus no chance of a human driver regaining control) I can see that once they are available, more handicapped people will be able to get out and about.

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