As cars approach increased levels of autonomy, it’s making driving more accessible for everyone. It’s not just everyday drivers that are seeing the benefits but also those with physical challenges. Always up for a challenge, Mercedes has been committed to helping those with physical restrictions enjoy mobility and all the freedoms that go along with it. As part of that commitment, Mercedes is the official partner of the Wheelchair Basketball World Championship.
In addition to the driver assistance programs we’re used to seeing in Mercedes cars on the road, the company also has a variety of aids for different handicaps, individual requirements, and disability-specific requirements. A lot of these innovations comes from Daimler’s Lab 1886. Lab 1886 is an incubator with four locations across the globe, where teams of employees start up new business ideas and get them off the ground quickly. Lab 1886 was instrumental in the development of vehicles like a specially made Sprinter Panel Van for transporting wheelchairs and a shuttle service using the V-Class model.
Director of the Wheelchair Basketball World Championship, Anthony Kahlfeldt, is grateful for the work Mercedes puts in each year. Commenting on the partnership, he said, "Mercedes-Benz is a brand with charisma and the extensive mobility service of our partner is unique in disabled sport. Mercedes-Benz also actively supports people with a disability in the world of work. More than 8000 members of staff with a disability are employed by the company in Germany. This also spurs us on to fly the flag for inclusion with the World Championship"
This year marks the first time the championship has ever been held in Germany. Twelve women’s teams and sixteen men’s teams have qualified. The German team is hoping the home court advantage can help lead them to victory. The women are entering as the runners-up from the last Paralympics games and the men are coming off a third-place finish in the European Championships last year.