Autonomous Vehicles, New Mobility & the Built Environment

IoT to Improve Accessibility

An open and crowd-sourced accessibility lab is how Joe Speed, CTO of ADLINK’s IoT Solutions and Technology group describes #AccessibleOlli. The commercial promise of this autonomous, low-speed (<25 MPH) electric mobility pod is to provide high-quality, on-demand transportation to all people, regardless of an individual’s ability.

The #AccessibleOlli display at CES2018 was a culmination of a collaboration between the CTA Foundation, IBM and Local Motors that launched at CES2017., In the above interview, Speed provides a tour of the Accessible Olli booth that provided a holistic view of #AccessibleOlli, including*

  • Empathetic aids for attendees to gain an appreciation for those with various challenges
  • An accessible bus stop (#OlliStop) from Sage Automation, with features such as RFID readers integrated into mats that identify a person based on their RFID cards
  • Alternative communications capability through companies, such as KinTrans, with their sign-language translation, and Ultrahaptics, which creates virtual interfaces and buttons through cameras and ultrasound technology.   ,
  • Edge computing by ADLINK, which is the onramp to Watson on the IBM Cloud
  • Short-throw projection displays from Panasonic, which projects maps, text, and video onto special glass provided by AGC, Inc. (formerly known as Asahi Glass)
  • Q’STRAINT’s robotic restraint system automatically secures a wheelchair or scooter.
  • The 3D-printed, electric-powered Olli from Local Motors. Part of the revolutionary idea behind these vehicles is that they will be 3D-printed and assembled in the communities they serve.

*A complete list of collaborators is here.

Speed talks about the potential for #AccessibleOlli routes in Rochester, MN, home of the Mayo Clinic; a city with a downtown with 14% of its population identified as “mobility challenged”, according to its June 2018 report Transit Circulator Report for the Destination Medical Center (page A-27).  More recently, #AcessibleOlli has made its way to the University of Buffalo for testing. The University of Buffalo is an appropriate place for testing given the accessibility research at that institution by Professor Dr. Edward Steinfeld, who also happens to be the Co-Director of RERC on Accessible Public Transportation.

Speed points out that the lessons learned from #AccessibleOlli are applicable to markets beyond mobility. He emphasizes that inclusive design is bigger than any one person or group and that’s why an open and crowd-sourced effort is critical for solving big challenges.

(To see an interview with one of the accessibility researchers, check out this interview with IBM’s Erich Manser.)

Author Ken Pyle, Managing Editor

By Ken Pyle, Managing Editor

Ken Pyle is Marketing Director for the Broadband Forum. The mission of this 25+-year-old non-profit “is to unlock the potential for new markets and profitable revenue growth by leveraging new technologies and standards in the home, intelligent small business, and multi-user infrastructure of the broadband network.”

He is also co-founder of Viodi, LLC and Managing Editor of the Viodi View, a publication focused on the rural broadband ecosystem, autonomous vehicles, and electric aviation. He has edited and produced numerous multimedia projects for NTCA, US Telecom and Viodi. Pyle is the producer of Viodi’s Local Content Workshop, the Video Production Crash Course at NAB, as well as ViodiTV. He has been intimately involved in Viodi’s consulting projects and has created processes for clients to use for their PPV and VOD operations, as well authored reports on the independent telco market.

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