What is the SAE CivicProgress Challenge™?

Through the SAE CivicProgress Challenge™ universities will think critically about emerging technology issues relevant to transportation, public policy, and public acceptance of new mobility options. Teams of university students will design and develop, conceptually, a solution that provides a universally designed (functional for everyone to use) concept for a disability. Immersed in the SAE International’s Government & Industry Conference universities will present their solution in various ways including a technical design presentation and a showcase opportunity on SAE International’s Government & Industry show floor.

The SAE CivicProgress Challenge 2022 Mission

During the early 1900s, automobile manufacturers in the US and worldwide were introducing vehicles and parts, but they were developing their products to service only their own designs. For example, Henry Ford’s cars could only use Ford parts. With his encouragement, major OEMs began to join trade groups and these trade groups worked together to standardize measurements within vehicles, thereby standardizing the parts so a bolt made for one manufacturer’s vehicle could also be used in a competitor’s vehicle. The development of standard parts allowed invention to spread and advance for the betterment of humanity as technology was shared.

Standardized parts have come a long way since Henry Ford, but this year’s mission will tackle some of the remaining hurdles. Currently, technology is launched and then retrofitted to meet the needs of people with disabilities after the fact. The 2022 CivicProgress Challenge™ mission seeks to disrupt this norm by challenging teams to use universal design to design a component used on a vehicle that can be used by all people regardless of disability.

For the purposes of this mission, a “vehicle” is defined as any vehicle humans use for mobility - from scooters to airplanes.

For example, a team could design an airplane seat that could be used by a sitting person or a person in a wheelchair. Design considerations include how to eliminate the need to remove the seat, how to include a safe way to anchor the wheelchair, and how to ensure a quick transition from one position to the other.

The following are the primary objectives of the new component:

  • Safety: Safety is paramount. The component must provide enough redundancy such that the users feel safe and protected.
  • Reliability: The component must be able to support appropriate durations of usage. Downtime or need for maintenance leads to frustrated users.
  • Comfort: The component must be comfortable to use under a normal usage duration for the selected component. Downtime or need for maintenance leads to frustrated users.
  • Technology: The component’s design or use must incorporate at least one of the latest in emerging technologies: Advanced Manufacturing, Advanced Materials, or Connectivity.

Download the 2022 Rules - coming soon!