VOLKSWAGEN GROUP OF AMERICA LAUNCHES INCLUSIVE MOBILITY INITIATIVE
May 1, 2019
Herndon, VA (May 1, 2019) – Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (VWGoA), launched the Inclusive Mobility initiative, an industry-first effort to directly engage with disability groups early in the design of vehicle technologies, user experience and mobility services.
Much of the public discussion around automated vehicle technologies has focused on safety, comfort, and convenience. But for those who face continued barriers to safe, reliable, independent and affordable transportation, development of this technology has the potential to change lives.
“Transportation is the key to full participation in society,” said Scott Keogh, president and CEO, VWGoA. “And for individuals with disabilities today, the options can be limited. Volkswagen is known as the people’s car company, and as the technology allows, we want to design vehicles that are more accessible.”
The initiative began last year through outreach and collaboration with disability groups including the National Federation of the Blind, the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF), and the National Association of the Deaf. Initial research efforts have included a series of expert and user interviews on disabilities related to mobility, vision, hearing, and cognition.
VWGoA hosted a working meeting earlier this month to help find design solutions for securing wheelchairs in future autonomous and electric vehicles. The workshop included representatives from wheelchair manufacturers and securement providers, the We Will Ride Coalition of national disability organizations, the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, and Volkswagen AG.
“There’s been a lot of talk about what autonomous vehicles will provide, but for that potential to be realized, automakers will need to involve the disability community directly in the design and functionality of these vehicles,” said Carol Tyson, government affairs liaison for DREDF. “That’s why we’re so encouraged to be working with the Volkswagen Group from the outset. For the first time, an automaker has brought people together to begin to address the myriad of design, technical, safety and equity challenges that will need to be overcome.”
In addition to product development, the recent meeting focused on the need to create global safety standards for wheelchair securement in autonomous vehicles.
To learn more about the Inclusive Mobility initiative and for a list of participating organizations, please visit inclusivemobility.com.
About Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.
Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (VWGoA) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, one of the world’s leading automobile manufacturers and the largest carmaker in Europe. VWGoA operates a manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee and houses the U.S. operations of a worldwide family of distinguished and exciting brands including Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini and Volkswagen, as well as VW Credit, Inc. Founded in 1955, the company's headquarters are in Herndon, Va.; the company has more than 8,000 employees in the United States and sells its vehicles through a network of approximately 1,000 dealers.