The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) awarded a team from the University of California at Berkeley the first prize in its Infrastructure Vision 2050 Challenge; a crowdsourced, incentivized competition for world innovators to design a transportation system that would move people more safely andefficiently than today’s existing network.
Launched in January, the three-phased incentivized competition challenged a global community of innovators to think in aspirational and disruptive ways about how to reimagine personal mobility, freight movement, and utility infrastructure components and systems in the USA. The Infrastructure Vision 2050 Challenge is part of a larger policy-focused thought-leadership initiative launched by AEM in 2015 to develop a long-term national vision for USA infrastructure. The winners of the competition were announced at ConExpo-Con/Agg 2017, the largest international gathering for the construction industries in the western hemisphere. AEM is the international trade group for the off-road equipment industry.
The five finalists presented their ideas to a panel of expert judges, including: Adie Tomer, fellow at the Brookings Institution’s metropolitan policy program; Elle Shelley, chief marketing officer at Local Motors; Dan Sturges, adjunct professor of transportation design at the College for Creative Studies; Ingrid Reisman, SVP and chief marketing officer for the Las Vegas Monorail Company; Keith Hennessey, principal vice president and head of public-private partnerships at Bechtel; Vivek Wadhwa, distinguished fellow at Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering and a director of research at Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering.
The winners, Team Berkeley’s Anthony Barrs and Baiyu Chen took the US$50,000 first prize for Hyperlane design, whch is a convergence of two transportation modes: the car and the train. Hyperlane is a proposal to build new infrastructure that allows autonomous vehicles to travel at high speeds along existing roadways, and to guard against congestion in the Hyperlanes by using surge pricing.
Peter Muller, whose design, the SmART driverless vehicle system, which is a network of lightweight guideways that interconnect small stations, loading/offloading facilities and streets, came in second place in the competition, and took home US$35,000. Third place and a US$15,000 prize was awarded to Kevin Lu of the Pyro-E team for his adaptive pavement system, which would automate traffic to reduce congestion, by adapting highways to fit 10-times more cars for 1% of the costs.
“These five finalists were truly outstanding,” said Dennis Slater, AEM president. “Their designs are a reminder of what’s possible when we democratize innovation and challenge innovators to see the world as it could be. It’s inspiring.”
Announcing the winners, Wadhwa said, “It’s an honor to be part of this competition, which not only stimulates our minds about what is possible, but also inspires an important dialogue about the possibilities of modern infrastructure. AEM wants to facilitate this conversation that will lead to productive solutions going forward.”