CMU team to examine autonomous vehicles for people with disabilities

John Tague, chairman of the Pennsylvania Transportation Alliance, uses a wheelchair and understands the daily mobility challenges faced by people with disabilities.

That’s why Mr. Tague is excited that a team from Carnegie Mellon University has received a grant to develop a prototype system for autonomous vehicles that will allow anyone to control most vehicle functions — from summoning the vehicle to their location to controlling the windows and the temperature of the air conditioning — from their cellphones.

The team, based in CMU’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute, was among 10 across the country that received $300,000 grants last week from the federal Department of Transportation to continue developing their ideas to make autonomous vehicles more practical for people with disabilities.

The grant is part the DOT’s Inclusive Design Challenge, a competitive program to improve mobility for people with disabilities. Three finalists will split $2 million to produce their product.