September 2, 2020

First stage of Inclusive Design Challenge closes Oct. 30


Inclusive Design Challenge Stage I submissions are due Oct. 30.

The Inclusive Design Challenge, announced April 21 by the United States Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao, is approaching its deadline for Stage I submissions.

The challenge seeks innovative design solutions that can 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 intends to seek 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.

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 are invited to compete for cash prizes. Solutions 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

  • Challenge Structure

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. The stages are as follows:

  • Stage I – Proof-of-Concept Ideas – Stage I of the Challenge requests written proposals describing the design solution. Proposals are due Oct. 30, with semifinalists to be selected in early 2021. Read the full Challenge Statement and submit your concept.

  • Stage II – Prototype/Demonstrations – Semifinalists will be invited to design charrette(s) in summer 2021; final demonstration and prizes expected to be awarded in summer 2022.