RightHear crowned as startup challenge WINNER by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and Konnect!

From over 30 startups screened by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, RightHear won! We received €25,000 to develop our proof-of-concept for accessible autonomous vehicles (AVs). The vision is to provide independent transportation solutions for the blind and visually impaired.

The competition

The selection process consisted of panels of leading experts from Konnect and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. They were searching for cutting-edge technologies to accelerate their Mobility-as-a-Service offerings.

Dr. Astrid Wollenberg, Managing Director at Konnect – Volkswagen Group Innovation Hub TLV said, “RightHear’s vision and technology will allow us to offer a more inclusive environment in our vehicles and mobility services.”

The technology

Using Bluetooth and RightHear’s proprietary technology, autonomous vehicles will be accessible to everyone. Here are just some of the benefits:

  1. Geo-locate the vehicle directly from your smartphone, even in a crowded space.
  2. Safely open and close the doors automatically without needing to see or touch them.
  3. Get notifications when approaching your destination.
  4. Access prompts about points-of-interest along your route.

“Our goal is to create accessible and inclusive environments.” says Idan Meir, RightHear CEO and CoFounder. We know how challenging accessing public transport can be for people with visual impairments and blindness. So we wanted to share our wayfinding and orientation solutions with the transportation industry.”

The promise

Driverless cars promise new ways to move around independently. And users have more control for how and when they access the service. This reduces the stress and anxiety of having to rely on public transport. 

“Lack of access to convenient transportation remains one of the biggest barriers to employment, community integration, and healthcare for people who are blind or have low vision,” said Stephanie Enyart, Chief Public Policy and Research Officer at AFB (American Foundation for the Blind).

If we get this right, accessible autonomous vehicles will help society as a whole rethink how people with disabilities are treated. With independence comes autonomy. With autonomy comes equality. And RightHear is excited to help realize our mission of making the world more accessible.