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Pedal to the Medal: Students Chart Course for New Mobility Solutions

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05/06/2016 | 02:02pm CEST

Toyota and Net Impact Announce National Finalists in Next Generation Mobility Challenge

Meeting neighborhoods’ needs through Mobile Community Centers. Turning car trunks into moving mailboxes. Customizing navigation systems for the blind. These are the innovative concepts from the three finalists in the Next Generation Mobility Challenge, a new competition from Toyota and Net Impact to inspire millennials to develop solutions for critical mobility needs in local communities and around the world.

This Smart News Release features multimedia. View the full release here: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160506005104/en/

Students develop solutions for critical mobility needs during the Next Generation Mobility Challenge ...

Students develop solutions for critical mobility needs during the Next Generation Mobility Challenge, a new competition from Toyota and Net Impact. (Source: David Schmitz)

The public is invited to view videos created by the finalists about their projects starting today at this link and vote for their favorites. A panel from Toyota and Net Impact selected the three finalists, based on their project design, feasibility and social impact, from the winners of 15 Net Impact events at universities across the country.

  • University of Oregon - Carolyn Taclas, Keala Verigan, Sydney Quinton-Cox and James Greisen
    Taking a page from the food truck craze and the mini-communities that spring up around them, the team conceived the Mobile Community Center. The customized trucks would park in public transit hubs, like Park-n-Ride lots and bus stations, and offer a range of services to meet community needs.
  • Northwestern University and University of Illinois - Maria McKiever, Szymon Gluc and Shangyanyan Li
    With a new take on the sharing economy, this team created a system that would allow drivers to offer their car trunks to others for hire as mobile mailboxes, potentially minimizing congestion and driving time.
  • Babson College, RISD and Olin College - Esther Kim, John Mathai, Ayush Singhal and Niklaus Sugiri
    Helping to map the way, this team created StreetSmart, a mobile application that leverages existing technologies such as location services and voice recognition to create a navigation system for the blind and visually impaired.

“At Toyota, we’re committed to addressing mobility issues around the world so that more people can go more places and live better lives. We are thrilled by the ingenious solutions that the students developed during the Next Generation Mobility Challenge,” said Latondra Newton, Group Vice President and Chief Social Innovation Officer, Toyota Motor North America, Inc. “Our partnership with Net Impact reflects our approach of combining our know-how with the expertise of others, so that working together can lead to something greater than going at it alone.”

“Transportation choices have major ramifications on the environment, society, and health,” said Liz Maw, CEO, Net Impact. “For this reason, students across the country have been excited to partner with a leading innovator like Toyota to define the future of mobility.”

The judges will factor in the public vote when determining the winning team, which will be announced by May 31, 2016. The winning team will be considered for a Toyota Mobility Foundation grant and have a chance to incubate their ideas during a summer internship within Toyota’s network of mobility innovation partners. The team will also showcase their solution at the 2016 Net Impact Conference in Philadelphia this November.

About the Next Generation Mobility Challenge

Launched in 2015, The Next Generation Mobility Challenge is a competition from Toyota and Net Impact to inspire millennials to develop solutions for critical mobility needs in local communities and around the world. Held at fifteen university campuses across the country, the challenge invites multi-disciplinary teams of students to participate in half-day design sprints to develop solutions for mobility issues that address community, connectivity, or sustainability. Local transportation and technology experts from Toyota and universities provided feedback and real-world perspective to the students’ concepts.

Toyota is executing the challenge through Toyota Motor North America and the Toyota Mobility Foundation (TMF), which was created by Toyota in 2014 to help more people go more places – safely, easily and sustainably – so they can live better lives no matter where they are.

About Toyota

Toyota (NYSE:TM), the world's top automaker and creator of the Prius and the Mirai fuel cell vehicle, is committed to building vehicles for the way people live through our Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands. Over the past 50 years, we’ve built more than 30 million cars and trucks in North America, where we operate 14 manufacturing plants (10 in the U.S.) and directly employ more than 44,000 people (more than 34,000 in the U.S.). Our 1,800 North American dealerships (1,500 in the U.S.) sold more than 2.8 million cars and trucks (nearly 2.5 million in the U.S.) in 2015 – and about 80 percent of all Toyota vehicles sold over the past 20 years are still on the road today.

Toyota partners with philanthropic organizations across the country, with a focus on education, safety and the environment. As part of this commitment, we share the company’s extensive know-how garnered from building great cars and trucks to help community organizations and other nonprofits expand their ability to do good. For more information about Toyota, visit www.toyotanewsroom.com.

About Net Impact

Net Impact is the world’s best training ground for the next generation of change agents. Our programs—delivered from our headquarters in Oakland, CA, as well as globally through our 300+ chapters—connect our members to the skills, experiences and people that will allow them to have the greatest impact. With over 100,000 members, Net Impact takes on social challenges, protects the environment, invents new products and orients business toward the greater good. In short, we help our members turn their passions into a lifetime of world-changing action. Visit www.netimpact.org.

© Business Wire 2016
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