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Autonomous Vehicles

Inclusive Design of Autonomous Vehicles: A Public Dialogue

Autonomous Bus

Self-driving or “autonomous” vehicles stand to revolutionize road transportation in the U.S. and around the world. Their cutting-edge technologies and engineering innovations have the potential to significantly expand transit options for many people, including those with disabilities. It is important that autonomous vehicles (AVs) are designed to be inclusive of everyone.

This spring, the U.S. Access Board will host a four-part series of virtual meetings on making AVs accessible to passengers with disabilities. The Board will provide an open forum where members of the public and stakeholders can discuss considerations, challenges, and solutions in designing accessible AVs. The sessions will cover accessibility for passengers with mobility, sensory, or cognitive disabilities. The sessions are free and open to the public. Attendees will be able to pose questions and share comments, suggestions, and information.

The Board is undertaking this initiative jointly with other agencies, including the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and the Department of Health and Human Service’s Administration for Community Living.

Series Platform and Format

The forum will be conducted through the Zoom webinar. The forum’s four sessions will be in intervals of two weeks. Each 90-minute webinar discussion will be recorded and supplemented by an online crowdsourcing dialogue platform that will be active for two weeks after each session. The sessions will begin with presentations by agency representatives and invited speakers who will review relevant sources and research and outline issues and questions for discussion. These presentations will be followed by an open dialogue with attendees through the webinar platform.

Webinar Schedule and Registration

Accessibility for Passengers with Mobility Disabilities: Part 1
This session will cover methods and technologies for entering and exiting autonomous vehicles.
March 10, 2021, 2:00 – 3:30 (ET)
Register for the March 10 session

Session I Presenters

  • Gregory S. Fehribach, Chair of the U.S. Access Board
  • Randall Duchesneau, U.S. Access Board
  • Dr. Victor Paquet, University at Buffalo
  • Amy Schoppman, National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association
  • Kevin Frayne, BraunAbility

Accessibility for Passengers with Mobility Disabilities: Part 2
This session will address maneuvering and securement in vehicles and continued discussion of entering and exiting autonomous vehicles.
March 24, 2021, 2:00 – 3:30 (ET)
Register for the March 24 session

Session II Presenters

  • Jennifer Sheehy, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Office of Disability Employment Policy
  • Scott Windley, U.S. Access Board
  • Bryan Brillhart, Robotics Research
  • Dr. Kathleen D. Klinich, University of Michigan
  • Dr. Jordana Maisal, University at Buffalo

Accessibility for Passengers with Sensory and Cognitive Disabilities: Part 1
This session will address ride hailing and on-board communication for passengers with hearing, visual, or cognitive disabilities.
April 7, 2021, 2:00 – 3:30 (ET)
Register for the April 7 session

Accessibility for Passengers with Sensory and Cognitive Disabilities: Part 2
This session will continue discussion of communication accessibility in hailing and interacting with autonomous vehicles for passengers with hearing, visual, or cognitive disabilities.
April 21, 2021, 2:00 – 3:30 (ET)
Register for the April 21 session

Online Dialogue Platform

Members of the public are also welcome to share their ideas, comments, and information on AV accessibility through an online crowdsourcing dialogue platform that will offer another opportunity for input throughout the webinar series. Discussion of accessibility for passengers with mobility disabilities is active now. Dialogues on accessibility for passengers with sensory or cognitive disabilities and next steps will open March 25.

More Information

Further details will be posted on this page in coming weeks. You can sign up to receive details and other updates on the sessions by email.

Direct questions to Randall Duchesneau III at events@access-board.gov or (202) 272-0044.