A team of students at Georgia Tech won Toyota Mobility Foundation and Net Impact’s national competition, the “Next Generation Mobility Challenge.”
The award-winning team developed the app-based, “Para Pickup,” a paratransit taxi service providing wheelchair users with a safe, affordable, and flexible way to get around.
The student developers envision Para Pickup as supplementing already-operational public paratransit services, which are affordable, but reportedly can be inflexible and slow.
“There is a real need for flexible, affordable alternatives, especially for those who can’t afford a wheelchair-accessible vehicle,” said Sally Xia, a member of the winning team. “We developed Para Pickup to help wheelchair users go wherever they want, whenever they want.”
Xia, with team members Riley Keen, Pranav Nair, and Kris Weng, accepted summer internships at Toyota Motor North America’s new headquarters in Plano. Toyota has started moving 250 employees a week into the corporate campus.
Once there, the student team will work with Toyota’s social innovation team and continue to develop the app for the Toyota Mobility Foundation. The foundation addresses worldwide mobility challenges.
The Para Pickup team was selected by Toyota and Net Impact judges, who analyzed entries based on six categories:
- Clarity of goals and objectives
- Clarity of project design
- Impact to society
- Potential for project implementation
The public also weighed in, through online voting.
The Next Generation Mobility Challenge was created by Toyota, the Toyota Mobility Foundation, and Net Impact to encourage millennials to develop solutions for critical mobility needs in local communities and globally. The challenge takes place at 15 university campuses nationwide, and invites multidisciplinary student teams to participate.