Electric wheelchair users depend on a reliable power system in order to regain mobility in their daily lives. If a wheelchair’s battery power depletes without the user being aware, the individual may become stranded, further limiting their freedom of mobility and potentially placing the user in a harmful situation. This research seeks to develop a State-of-Charge (SOC) estimator for the batteries of an electric wheelchair. A second-order equivalent circuit battery model is developed and parameterized for a wheelchair’s lead-acid battery pack. To simplify the SOC estimation, this algorithm models a vehicle’s fuel gauge. A coulomb accumulator is incorporated to estimate energy usage in the non-linear region of the OCV-SOC curve, while a Kalman filter is used to estimate SOC in the linear region of the curve. The estimator is verified using experimentally collected data on-board a robotic wheelchair. The implementation of these algorithms with powered wheelchairs can significantly improve the estimation of wheelchair battery power and can ultimately be coupled with warning systems to alert users of depleting battery life, as well as enable low-power modes to increase wheelchair user safety.

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