Fiat will showcase its mobility technology in China for the first time at the 2012 Care and Rehabilitation Exposition being held in Beijing, China. The exposition was first held in 2007 and has rapidly developed into an industry-leading event, the event is focused on discovering and finding new solutions to assist disabled Chinese in their daily life. The 2012 Expo has attracted and confirmed over 240 exhibitors from 16 different countries, and has set aside over 11,000 square meters of space for attendees. The exposition is sponsored by China Disabled Persons' Federation and National Ageing Committee and also has the strong support of the Chinese Ministry of Health and ten other key central Chinese ministries. To date the Care and Rehabilitation Exposition is the biggest and most influential event in the Chinese care and rehabilitation industry.
Fiat has partnered with Italian Group Innovative Solutions(IGIS) to display a range of mobility technology on the shared stand. Fiat will show a specially adapted Fiat Viaggio that allows drivers with reduced motor skills to drive. The IGIS stand will also feature a driving simulator, the MG2F, which was developed by Fiat's Autonomy Program in partnership with an Italian company, aims to evaluate the residual force and the response to both light and sound required by impaired users, the results of which allow Fiat to tailor a model specifically for a driver's needs and requirements.
The Fiat Viaggio is the first car to be produced in China under the GAC-Fiat Joint Venture. The 50:50 partnership developed and built a new World Class Manufacturing Plant in Changsha where the Viaggio is built with a production capacity of 140,000 vehicles per year for the first phase. The Viaggio was launched on the Chinese market on September 13rd 2012 and has already received strong feedback from the Chinese market due to the high levels of technology, the distinctive design and the class-leading interior space.
The modified Viaggio on show was modified in China using Fiat's own self-developed autonomy technology and is equipped with an electronic accelerator located behind the steering wheel, a braking system and a multifunctional control are also attached to the steering wheel to make driving easier for users with impaired lower limbs.
Fiat has been at the forefront of developing autonomous technologies for impaired drivers since 1995 when Fiat established its autonomy program. Fiat has established Mobility Centers in all of its major markets around the world to assist impaired drivers with their driving needs. Every Mobility Center is staffed with medical and automotive professionals who are able to evaluate a drivers needs according to his or her physical status, a drivers ability is tested through driving simulators, physical tests such as limb dexterity and vision capabilities. From these results Fiat can suggest vehicles and improvements which would best suit them in their daily life. The Mobility Centers offer free advice to impaired drivers and also offers roadside assistance in case of technical issues with their cars. Fiat's autonomous technology is now available across the entire range of vehicles including Fiat, Lancia, Fiat Transportation, Alfa Romeo, Abarth and Jeep vehicles.
In the last ten years, Fiat has sold over 107,800 cars with the autonomy program in the European and Brazilian markets, while 2009 was the best seller year with more than 21,600 cars sold.
It is Fiat's firm belief that guaranteeing mobility to all is not only a moral and civil objective of paramount importance, but a goal which the entire community must strive to achieve, a cornerstone for the economic and cultural growth of modern society. For that reason, Fiat has long been dedicated time and energy to accomplishing what, in this field, must be the specific task of a carmaker: namely to design and put in place technical solutions capable of offering everybody the chance to use any kind a vehicle, whether it be individual or collective, without limitation.
According to China's 2010 Population Census approximately 6.34% of China's population (approximately 83 million people) suffers from some sort of impairment or disability, which owing to China's large population, is a large number of people whom require specific help in their daily life. By introducing new technologies into the Chinese market, partnerships and consortiums such as IGIS and Fiat will be able to increase the quality of life of disabled people in China by giving them the freedom to drive their own vehicles. Fiat is currently evaluating the feasibility and methodology behind opening such a center in the Chinese market.