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U.S. Access Board to Host Public Forum on Autonomous Vehicles

February 11, 2021

Autonomous Bus

In March and April, the U.S. Access Board, in partnership with other federal agencies, will host a series of virtual meetings on making autonomous vehicles (AVs) accessible to passengers with disabilities. The four-part series will provide an open forum where members of the public and stakeholders can discuss considerations, challenges, and solutions in designing accessible AVs. All are welcome to attend. 

“Self-driving vehicles have the potential to dramatically expand transit options for people with disabilities, so it’s important that they accommodate everyone,” notes Access Board Executive Director Sachin Pavithran, Ph.D. “We are undertaking this series to share information and ideas to promote inclusiveness into design and operation of autonomous vehicles.”   

The series will cover accessibility for passengers with mobility disabilities (sessions 1 and 2) and accessibility for passengers with sensory or cognitive disabilities (sessions 3 and 4). Each 90-minute session will be conducted through a webinar (Zoom) platform and feature 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 where attendees can pose questions or share comments or information. 

In addition, an online discussion platform (ePolicyWorks) will provide further opportunity for dialogue and information sharing following the webinar sessions. This discussion forum will be active for two weeks following each session. The ePolicyWorks discussion platform will open February 22.  

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

Inclusive Design of Autonomous Vehicles: A Public Dialogue 

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
The ePolicyWorks discussion platform will open February 22.

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

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

Each session will feature presentations by agency representatives and invited speakers who will review relevant information and research and outline issues and questions for discussion. An open dialogue with attendees will follow. In addition, an online crowdsourcing platform (ePolicyWorks) will provide a forum for continued discussion after the live session. 

Further details will be posted on the Board’s AV webpage in coming weeks. Direct questions to Randall Duchesneau III at events@access-board.gov or (202) 272-0044.