Barrier-free Accessible Mobility Pitch-off Competition

Nimrod Barshad
Sculptor, Conceptual Artist
Nimrod Barshad
Painter, Conceptual Artist
Tommy Martinez
Painter, Conceptual Artist

Barrier-free Accessible Mobility Pitch-off Competition Co-Chairs

Shabnam Pejhan

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, Ontario Tech University, Canada

Charlie Garnett

Vehicle Architect, Accessibility Management, General Motors, USA

Alan Hejl

Founder & Lead Consultant, Spark Access, USA

Background

Challenge Theme

Barrier-free Accessible Mobility Pitch-off Competition

The current revolution in smart mobility represents great opportunities for the elderly population, people with disabilities, and those with chronic disease, but only if we build on a foundation of inclusive design.  

The World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that 1-in-6 people in the world will be aged 60 years or over by 2030. People with disabilities represent the world’s largest minority and the only minority group that any of us can become a member of at any time. WHO estimates that 1.3 billion+ people (16% of the world’s population) have  some form of disability. Moreover, globally, approximately 1-in-3 adults have multiple chronic diseases.  These statistics are compounded by significant intersectionality between the three communities.

Mobility gives access to key aspects of life such as work, healthcare, education, shopping, outdoor recreation, and entertainment. People with disabilities and elderly persons face several mobility barriers in their daily lives, significantly impacting their personal and social wellbeing. Inclusive mobility aims to facilitate ease of transportation for seniors and people with disabilities across the range of physical, vision, hearing, cognitive, and chronic disease.

Mobility is the movement of people and goods through our communities. The challenge opens up the opportunity for any aspect of movement or systems approach in how people with disabilities, aging adults, and people with chronic diseases may navigate the world around them. Some examples of this can include smart city pedestrian infrastructure, privately-owned vehicle innovation, air travel experiences, electric vehicle infrastructure, micromobility, and more. If you have questions, please reach out to the co-chairs!

Challenge Statement

Several accessible solutions are developed to improve the mobility of people with disabilities and seniors. These lie at the intersection of hardware, software, service, and system design. Solutions include, but are not limited to, ergonomic mobility aids, exoskeletons and soft exosuits, autonomous wheelchairs, voice-enabled navigation apps, vision and speech aids, tracking devices, healthcare transportation and accessibility maps, to name just a few.

The technical components of inclusive mobility systems should be explicitly conceived and designed following a user-driven approach instead of traditionally used technology-push and problem-focused approaches. Without a user-driven approach, there is a danger that ill-conceived mobility technologies will, at best, be irrelevant or inappropriate and, at worst, will reinforce some of the negative ageist or ableist assumptions that frame much of society’s response to aging and/or disability. Any technical design activity must embrace the concept of “Nothing about Us, Without Us” and consider whether the voice of the user is genuinely represented.

This challenge focuses on how we might use user-centric technologies to achieve accessible mobility for people with disabilities and seniors. Proposed solutions should focus on showing how these aids and assistive technologies can make the mobility of people with disabilities and seniors more accessible, inclusive, equitable, and efficient. In order to cover a wide spectrum of barriers, this pitch-off challenge has the following three tracks with a common design thinking question: “How might we use user-centric technologies to achieve barrier-free mobility and maintain a healthy and active lifestyle?”.

Track 1: Elderly People

How might user-centric mobility technology help elderly people?

Track 2: People with Disabilities

How might user-centric mobility technology help people with disabilities (across the spectrum of mobility, visual, hearing, cognitive and intellectual disability)?

Track 3: People with Chronic Diseases

How might user-centric mobility technology help people with chronic diseases?

Important Dates

15

April, 2024

Challenge Kick off

15

July, 2024

Submission Deadline

15

August, 2024

Notification of Acceptance

1 - 15

August , 2024​

Mentorship

25

August , 2024

Semi-final Pitching

17

September, 2024

Notification of Acceptance

15

April, 2024

Call for Papers

15

July, 2024

Paper submission deadline

31

August, 2024

Notification of Acceptance

7

September, 2024​

Camera-ready paper submission

16-18

September, 2024

Conference Dates

1st
April
Challenge kick off
15th
May
Q & A Webinar
31th
May
Solution Proposal Submission
15th
July
Notification of Acceptance
30th
July
Mentorship Webinar
TBD
September 16-18
Pitch-off Competition

Eligibility Criteria and Registration

Updated Scoring Criteria

The submissions will be evaluated equally by expert judges based on proposal quality and four criteria: Originality, Human-Centered, Execution, and Desirability.

  • Originality: Is the solution entirely novel or provides a fresh approach to the targeted challenge?
  • Human-Centered: Is the solution usable by physically challenged individuals and/or seniors? Does the solution have practical benefits for the targeted users in their everyday lives?
  • Execution: Is the solution practical and feasible? If the solution involves the use of an advanced technology, will it be implementable and usable in a realistic time frame?
  • Desirability: Is the solution something that mobility service providers would implement, use, and benefit from to accommodate the needs of people with disabilities and/or seniors?


Each criterion will be evaluated based on a rating scale of 0-10, with 0 being the lowest possible score and 10 being the highest. For example, in the Originality criterion, a score of 0 means the solution is entirely unoriginal and is in use today; while a score of 10 means the solution is entirely novel and has not been used.

The highest scoring solutions will make it to the final round on 18 September, 2024, where the participants will have the opportunity to present live in front of the judges for 20 minutes. In addition to the above-mentioned criteria, the finalists will be also judged on Presentation during the live event. The total score will be calculated using the following weighted average formula:

Total_Score=0.2*orginality_Score + 0.25*Human-Centered_Score + 0.15*Execution_Score +0.15*Desirability_Score + 0.25*Presentation_Score

General Instructions

  • Participants can use design thinking, solution drafting, and business planning to answer the main question of the selected track.
  • Participants should consider innovative user-driven solutions that can ensure accessible, inclusive, and equitable mobility conditions. Your proposal should explain how your solution empowers the targeted users in the selected track. The proposal should also identify the used/proposed technologies and mechanisms, and clearly explain the different components and specifications that your solution would comprise.
  • In case of planning end-user interviews/research sessions with targeted users, these sessions should be carried out in informal and non-threatening settings and should be subject to the established ethical guidelines and procedures in your country. Procedures for informing prospective users and gaining consent should be indicated as part of the submitted proposal in this case.
  • Finalists will pitch their proposed solutions to a panel of expert judges during the conference.

We will be looking forward to receiving your submissions,
Kindly promote the IEEE (SM’24) to interested individuals and communities in your vicinity.

Best regards, and looking forward to seeing you at the IEEE (SM’24) in September!

Challenge Organizers

Main Organizers

Strategic Partners

Main Organizers

Sample Participations from Previous Editions:

  • Wholistic Disabled Digital Pass, United Kingdom: here. 
  • Device help the paralyzed by the head sensor (DERDO), Egypt: here. 
  • Accentral, Canada: here.  
  • The SenseHB Network, Canada: here. 
  • Helpful companion, Algeria: here.

Kick-off Mentorship

Frequently Asked Questions

Answer: Mobility is the movement of people and goods through our communities. The challenge opens up the opportunity for any aspect of movement or systems approach in how people with disabilities, aging adults, and people with chronic diseases may navigate the world around them. Some examples of this can include smart city pedestrian infrastructure, privately-owned vehicle innovation, air travel experiences, electric vehicle infrastructure, micromobility, and more. If you have questions, please reach out to the co-chairs!

Subscribe Newsletter

[mc4wp_form id="4846"]

Hurry Up!

To Register

Register With Us as soon as possible

The IEEE International Conference on Smart Mobility (SM) is designated for reporting recent research and development results in smart mobility systems and services, their challenging problems, and their potential applications.

© 2024 Copyright - All Rights Are Reserved - IEEE International Conference on Smart Mobility (SM)
Panel Title: Engineering and Societal Adoption Challenges of Automated Driving Systems
IEEE International Conference on Smart Mobility (IEEESM)
Across the globe, there are tens of companies pursuing the development of automated driving systems (ADS), ranging over SAE Driving Automation Levels 3-5. There are several open engineering challenges of ADS software – particularly in development and validation of ADS operation in challenging weather conditions, critical corner cases, dealing with a variety of pedestrians and traffic conditions, and cooperation with human operated vehicles. Many standards (e.g., ISO 26262, ISO 21448) are emerging providing guidelines to ensure safety of ADS under the intended operating conditions. On the other hand, there are societal concerns that technological advancements such as ADS and robotics might bring in, e.g., people being out of work, competing with automation etc.. Initiatives like Partners for Automated Vehicle Education (PAVE) aim to alleviate such concerns by educating public and policymakers on pros and cons of automated driving systems. This panel discussion will focus on ADS engineering and societal adoption challenges and offer some possible solutions.
Ramesh S Senior Technical Fellow, General Motors, USA
Panel Moderator
Arun Adiththan Senior Researcher, General Motors, USA
Panel Moderator
Panel Description
Overlay Image
Panel Title: Engineering and Societal Adoption Challenges of Automated Driving Systems
IEEE International Conference on Smart Mobility (IEEESM)
Across the globe, there are tens of companies pursuing the development of automated driving systems (ADS), ranging over SAE Driving Automation Levels 3-5. There are several open engineering challenges of ADS software – particularly in development and validation of ADS operation in challenging weather conditions, critical corner cases, dealing with a variety of pedestrians and traffic conditions, and cooperation with human operated vehicles. Many standards (e.g., ISO 26262, ISO 21448) are emerging providing guidelines to ensure safety of ADS under the intended operating conditions. On the other hand, there are societal concerns that technological advancements such as ADS and robotics might bring in, e.g., people being out of work, competing with automation etc.. Initiatives like Partners for Automated Vehicle Education (PAVE) aim to alleviate such concerns by educating public and policymakers on pros and cons of automated driving systems. This panel discussion will focus on ADS engineering and societal adoption challenges and offer some possible solutions.
Ramesh S Senior Technical Fellow, General Motors, USA
Arun Adiththan Senior Researcher, General Motors, USA
Panel Moderator
Panel Description
Panel Moderator
Overlay Image