Italdesign’s “Moby” project is one of the five finalists of the Toyota Mobility Foundation’s $4m Mobility Unlimited Challenge. The announcement was made a few minutes ago in Las Vegas, during CES 2019.
The Mobility Unlimited Challenge in association with the Nesta Challenge Prize Centre, supports radical improvements in the mobility and independence of people with lower-limb paralysis through smarter assistive technology and gathered 80 entries from 28 countries around the world.
Italdesign’s “Moby” is the first mobility service designed for wheelchair users; it’s the bicycle-sharing system equivalent for wheelchairs: it consists of “wheel-on”, semi-autonomous, electric devices, located in urban hubs, that will make travelling around cities much simpler and easier for people with lightweight manual wheelchairs. Users will be able to book Moby through an app, then will reach the closest hub and get on board the pre-booked Moby with their own wheelchairs; at the end of the service, users will return it to the closest hub, making it available for the next ones. Moby features integrated systems that help users to avoid any collisions with fixed or mobile obstacles and it is designed to help them to easily overcome architectural barriers.
Connected via an app, it will enable users to interact with the device, with other wheelchair users, other means of transport and transport applications via API.
Serena De Mori, Moby Project Manager, said:
“Moby is an idea we’ve been working on for quite some time, creating a close-knit project team with wheelchairs users. – Their main request was to make their daily travelling easier and physically less demanding. We are looking forward to bringing this concept to reality and working with users to improve it over time.”
Italdesign received 500,000 US dollars that will be used to develop the next stage of the project.
Massimo Martinotti, Head of Mobility Solutions, added :
“Moby is one of the many projects and ideas we’re developing within Italdesign new department dedicated to mobility solutions. We are here at CES 2019 also as speakers at the Supersession Conference dedicated to “The Flying Car”, having conceived and developed the Pop.Up project. I think both Moby and Pop.Up projects reflect what we mean by ‘future mobility’ : providing solutions to emerging needs; no matter if they are ready to go on the market or if they need some years more of development, the goal and vision are the same”.
The Challenge invited engineers, innovators, and designers from across the world to submit designs for game-changing technologies, incorporating intelligent systems, to improve the mobility and independence of people with lower-limb paralysis. Central to the Challenge is the importance of collaboration with end-users to develop devices which will integrate seamlessly into users’ lives and environments, while being comfortable and easy to use, enabling greater independence and increased participation in daily life.
In addition to the $500,000 grant, the finalists will attend tailored workshops, receive mentoring opportunities with engineering experts, and collaborate with end users to further the development of their concepts through to 2020.
Italdesign CEO Jörg Astalosch declared:
“We honestly couldn’t start the new year better. We are proud to be one of the five finalists of this Challenge. We, as a company providing mobility services to worldwide industries, strongly believe that future mobility must have a positive impact on everybody’s life. Moby is part of this vision, which we really hope to bring to reality, so to offer, in collaboration with Municipalities and other companies, a new service to ease wheelchair users’ everyday-life”.