The Merlin Prize for accessible, autonomous electric vehicles (A2EV) has concluded. We want to thank all of our participants and judges for sharing our mission and developing innovative and inclusive transportation solutions for communities of individuals with physical, sensory, and/or cognitive disabilities. There were 38 incredibly innovative submissions--ideas ranging from a smart and improved steering wheel, smart cane, a rearview mirror that assists drivers who are color blind, and even a service animal robot and a concept for a car with sliding adjustable chairs to accommodate wheelchair passengers. Though Category 1 entries were received, unfortunately none met the criteria (sufficiently high TRL, capable of operating at highway speeds and compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Therefore, only Category 2 prizes are being awarded. With the help of the advisors and judges, who have extensive industry and user experience, the Merlin Prize winners are:
1st Prize: Guardian: An In-Vehicle Emergency Detecting Suite ($6,000 USD)
2nd Prize: HawKar ($3,000 USD)
3rd Prize: Piloteer - A Personal Scooter for EVERYONE ($1,000 USD)
Congratulations to the winners! In addition to the cash prizes mentioned above, the Foundation is planning to launch the Annaleigh Grilo Accelerator program next year. Please be on the lookout for those invitations.
Disabilities can make it challenging to access transportation. This can limit people’s opportunities for employment, education, healthcare, and a high quality of life. Here at Team Merlin, we’re looking to change that paradigm; and make transportation truly accessible for all.
Thank you again to everyone who participated in the Prize!