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Meet the Inclusive Design Challenge Semifinalists with PAVE!

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Of all the potential benefits of automated vehicles, the opportunity to bring personal mobility and autonomy to the lives of people with disabilities is one of the most under-appreciated.

Creating accessible transportation will require incredible innovation, and programs like the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Inclusive Design Challenge are critical to building momentum toward this goal. With $5 million in prizes, the Inclusive Design Challenge pits researchers and innovators in a competition to design and develop systems and features for autonomous vehicles that solve the most pressing access barriers for people with physical, sensory and cognitive disabilities.

Last fall, PAVE had the opportunity to partner with the U.S. Department of Transportation on a virtual seminar “AVs for All: Inspiring Solutions for Accessible Design” to highlight their Inclusive Design Challenge. We had the opportunity to bring together leading experts in the field of universal design and share numerous resources with potential applicants and the public.

We were so inspired by the project that we decided to follow up with each of the 10 Semifinalist teams and produce a PAVE video interview series highlighting all 10 of their winning proposals. We invite you to view this video series now and learn more about the innovative design solutions these teams are working on to enable people with physical, sensory, and cognitive disabilities to use automated vehicles to access jobs, healthcare, and other critical destinations. 

About U.S. DOT’s Inclusive Design Challenge:

The Inclusive Design Challenge asks researchers and innovators to develop solutions to create and enable accessible automated vehicles, solving our most pressing access barriers for people with physical, sensory, and cognitive disabilities. Design teams from academic and research institutions, the business sector, technology companies, and analytics firms were invited to compete for cash prizes through a two-stage Challenge. Proposals included both hardware and software solutions aimed at addressing transportation barriers.

The total prize purse for the Challenge is $5,000,000. In January 2021, ten semifinalist teams were awarded $300,000 each based on their proof-of-concept ideas. In Stage II, semifinalists will compete for a portion of the remaining prize purse by developing prototype demonstrations of their concepts. U.S. DOT anticipates awarding Stage II prizes in summer 2022. Information on the Challenge is available at: https://www.transportation.gov/accessibility/inclusivedesign.

About PAVE:

PAVE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to improve public understanding of advanced vehicle technologies in order to maximize the potential benefits in safety, mobility and sustainability. PAVE members include automotive manufacturers, technology companies, and nonprofit organizations.

July 14, 2021