The global robotic wheelchairs market size was valued at USD 96.7 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach USD 224.8 billion by 2030 at a CAGR of 9.83% from 2022 to 2030. Robotic wheelchairs are a modernised variant of electric wheelchairs, also known as power wheelchairs. These wheelchairs are equipped with sensors and artificial intelligence. These chairs are programmed to detect obstacles in their path, navigate accordingly, and improve the user experience by a significant margin. Utilising robotics-based technology, a robotic wheelchair is capable of obstacle detection, navigation, and autonomous movement through the use of sensors. The greatest demand for robotic wheelchairs comes from those with permanent or temporary mobility impairments, the elderly, and the morbidly obese who cannot perform smooth movements.
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Population ageing, independent mobility, accident victims, and people in need of assistance for easy mobility are the primary growth drivers for the robotic wheelchairs market over the forecast period. In addition, the rise in disposable income of consumers in emerging economies, technological innovation, and intensive R&D are the primary factors driving the market growth of robotic wheelchairs. Increasing instances of temporary and permanent mobility impairment, a growing geriatric population, and the inability of obese individuals to engage in activities requiring smooth movement are therefore driving the demand for robotic wheelchairs.
The increasing use of robotic wheelchairs in hospitals, airports, tourist destinations, and social service homes is expected to drive growth in the commercial sector of the robotic wheelchairs market over the forecast period. In Singapore, for example, Panasonic and Whill Inc. have created a self-driving robotic wheelchair that can be controlled by a smartphone and is used in hospitals and airports. With the increased use of robotic wheelchairs in commercial settings such as hospitals, airports, special care homes, and tourist destinations. Human-made intelligence and sensors weigh down the robotic wheelchairs. In the robotic wheelchairs market, this has shifted the emphasis to research and development.
As robotic wheelchair manufacturing is costly, only affluent patients can afford to purchase one. Due to the high price of electric wheelchairs, few facilities, such as small hospitals and clinics, can afford their upkeep; this is the primary factor restraining market growth. Consequently, there is an urgent need to address this issue.
Patient's preference for cost-effective and low-maintenance alternatives is anticipated to pose the greatest challenge to the robotic wheelchairs market. In spite of favourable reimbursement opportunities, factors such as technical glitches and product recalls may impede this market's expansion.
The major players in this industry are forming partnerships with online retailers in order to increase their customer base and broaden the product's availability. In addition, they are launching e-portals to facilitate the purchasing process for customers.
In addition, the incorporation of advanced technology into powered wheelchairs has resulted in the addition of robotic features to the product. The advantages of these wheelchairs include Internet of Things capabilities, navigational mapping, and sensors. Wheelchairs with robotic features are being developed by businesses in order to promote free mobility assistance. The Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, for instance, developed an autonomous intelligent robotic wheelchair with features such as motorised automatic braking, autonomous path planning, obstacle detection capability, floor level detection, and a small turning radius for mobility.
This market can be segmented on the basis of application, wheelchairs type, distribution channel, regions and competitors. Residential applications accounted for 82.9 per cent of the total market share. Robotic wheelchairs are gaining popularity in the home due to their ability to provide independent mobility assistance for indoor activities. With the incorporation of brain neural computer interaction technology, Professor Nicholas of Spain's Universidad Miguel Hernandez has developed a robotic wheelchair for indoor applications.
The commercial sector is anticipated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 10.8 per cent over the forecast period. The increasing adoption of robotic wheelchairs in airports, hospitals, tourist destinations, and social homes is anticipated to result in significant growth for this market segment. At Singapore's Changi General Hospital and Tokyo's Haneda International Airport, the Singapore MIT Alliance for Research and Technology introduced a smartphone-operated, self-driving robotic wheelchair created by Panasonic and Whill Inc.
In 2021, the mid-wheel drive wheelchair was expected to account for 45.0% of the global market and grow at a CAGR of 9.3% over the forecast period. Its ability to provide traction on all surface terrains, including slopes, inclines, etc., has contributed to the growth of this wheelchair type.
The presence of caster wheels on the front and rear of the wheelchair will prevent it from tipping forward and backwards. These benefits drive sales of mid-wheel drive wheelchairs and keep them in the lead for customer satisfaction and indoor application.
The home care settings segment is anticipated to be the most valuable, surpassing $60 million by 2021 and growing at a CAGR of 9.6 per cent during the forecast period. This increases the need for traditional home care to be transformed. Robotic wheelchairs provide the assistance and constant support that the majority of elderly individuals require to remain mobile and active.
With a value of USD 62.5 million, the retail distribution channel led the market for robotic wheelchairs. This category is gaining popularity due to its benefits, which include providing customers with the ability to scan the product prior to purchase, offering free demonstrations, and having a store associate who assists customers in understanding the applications and benefits of the technology embedded in wheelchairs. For example, Matia Robotics, Whill Inc., and Sunrise Medical have their own stores and have partnered with others in order to serve a large consumer base.
From 2022 to 2030, it is anticipated that the e-commerce distribution channel will grow at a CAGR of 11%. Companies are partnering with online retailers and launching their own e-portals, such as made in china.com, healthvistas.com, seniority.in, and medical bulky, in an effort to reach out to a large consumer base.
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Due to rising U.S. demand, North America held the largest market share of 33.0 per cent. Companies and medical research institutes are introducing robotic wheelchairs for independent mobility assistance due primarily to the early adoption of technology and the increase in the elderly population. For example, the Engineering Department of the University of Toronto and the Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS) collaborated with Cyberworks Robotics Inc. on robotic automation for wheelchairs. The market is driven by the growing elderly population and reimbursement from health insurance providers.
For instance, Invacare Corporation introduced the TDX SP2 wheelchair, which is manufactured with LiNX Technology and G-Trac Technology for improved obstacle control. In addition, U.S. scientists created a new robotic wheelchair controlled by the mind for severely disabled individuals.
Asia-Pacific has emerged as a growing market for robotic wheelchairs and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 10% during the forecast period. Demand in the region is primarily driven by technological advancements made by corporations and startups for the convenience of sedentary populations.
A cross-disciplinary research programme in Taiwan created intelligent robotic wheelchairs with navigation software and obstacle detectors for the elderly and the disabled. Numerous universities and institutes, such as the Chiba Institute of Technology (CIT), have created robotic wheelchairs, such as the chiba robotic wheelchair and the Self-E wheelchair, which operate using sensor LiDar and robotic operating system, respectively.
Demand for robotic wheelchairs is expected to be driven over the forecast period by independent mobility, an ageing population, accident victims, and people in need of mobility assistance. Companies are adapting to new developments in the market. Some of the major players in the robotic wheelchairs market share are Sunrise Medical LLC, Invacare Corporation, Permobil Corporation, Meyra GmbH, Karman healthcare, Ottobock SE & Company, and Matia Robotics, Upnride Robotics, DEKA Research & Development, and Whill Inc.