Waymo announced the Waymo Accessibility Network to formalize and scale its longstanding collaboration with disability advocates. This will expand inclusion of their crucial voices and valuable perspectives as we work together to shape the future of transportation.
The Waymo Accessibility Network brings together disability advocates who share in the mission of improving access, mobility and safety in our communities. Through the network, Waymo will partner directly with organizations that support people of all ages with physical, visual, cognitive and sensory disabilities. Members include both national advocates and community-based nonprofits serving the cities where Waymo One operates.
“Establishing the Waymo Accessibility Network is our latest step in ensuring our transformational rollout of autonomous technology is inclusive and equitable,” said Chris Ludwick, Waymo Product Management Director. “Consistent, two-way communication with the disability community will help Waymo research, design and deploy accessible solutions for all of our riders.”
The 13 inaugural members of the Waymo Accessibility Network include the national nonprofits American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), National Federation of the Blind, United Spinal Association, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Epilepsy Foundation of America, Blinded Veterans Association, United Cerebral Palsy and the American Council of the Blind; San Francisco-based LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Independent Living Resource Center of San Francisco and Self-Help for the Elderly; and Arizona-based Foundation for Blind Children and Foundation for Senior Living.
“Involving the disability community from the ground floor in technological advancements is the key to being a true champion of inclusion for today’s leading innovators,” said Vincenzo Piscopo, President & CEO, United Spinal Association. “The arrival of fully autonomous vehicles is especially eagerly awaited by the disability community—and we have been striving to make our voices heard in the development of this landmark technology. The Waymo Accessibility Network will elevate the dialogue that Waymo has consistently maintained with our community, and sets an example for their peers in the AV space to follow.”
The Waymo Accessibility Network will work directly with member organizations to conduct user research, product testing and more. This invaluable feedback will help us build upon Waymo’s current accessible design features, like audio cues, screen readers, rider support chats, educational tips and more.