DOT Inclusive Design Challenge
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) created the Inclusive Design Challenge (Challenge) in 2020. The Challenge focuses on innovative design solutions to enable people with physical, sensory, and cognitive disabilities to use automated vehicles to access jobs, healthcare, and other critical destinations. It is a part of a larger set of departmental initiatives on accessibility, announced at the Access and Mobility for All Summit.
The Challenge seeks solutions to improve passenger vehicle accessibility, encourage cross-disciplinary collaborations, incentivize development of new designs and technologies, and tap into the creativity and knowledge of the disability community, researchers, advocates, and entrepreneurs.
Semifinalists have been selected for the first stage of the challenge. Meet the teams here and read about their projects!
Seeking Solutions to Common Barriers
The Challenge asks researchers and innovators to develop solutions to solve 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. Solutions currently under development in Stage II may include both hardware and software solutions aimed to address barriers including:
- Locating an Automated Driving System-dedicated vehicle (ADS-DV)
- Entering an ADS-DV
- Securing passengers and mobility equipment
- Inputting information
- Interacting with the ADS in routine and emergency situations
- Exiting an ADS-DV
The total prize purse for the Challenge is $5,000,000, with initial submitters competing for up to ten $300,000 semifinalist awards 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.
Stage I – Proof-of-Concept Ideas – Stage I is now closed! Stage I of the Challenge requested written proposals describing the design solution. Proposals were due October 30, 2020. Semifinalists were announced January 6, 2021, and are profiled here. Please read the full Challenge Statement for more information.
Stage II – Prototype/Demonstrations – Semifinalists will be invited to virtual design charrette(s) in summer 2021; final demonstration and prizes expected to be awarded in summer 2022.
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