Public Square by FXFOWLE. Image: FXFOWLE/Driverless Future Challenge.
Public Square by FXFOWLE. Image: FXFOWLE/Driverless Future Challenge.

Driverless Future Challenge Names Winner

Reports from the Field by • 07/12

The Driverless Future Challenge, organized by AIA New York in partnership with the City of New York, New Lab, and Fast Company, came to a close on 07.11.17 with the lively presentation of the four finalists’ visions of a world populated with autonomous vehicles. New York City-based architecture firm FXFOWLE, in partnership with Sam Schwartz Engineering, won the competition with their modular streetscape system “Public Square,” which now has a patent pending. Other contenders included driverless farm-to-table food trucks; “smart curb” technology with an aim to coordinate and ease high-density bottleneck traffic zones; and an autonomous vehicle extension of MTA’s limited options for disabled commuters. The five person jury panel consisted of members of the Department of Transportation, the Economic Development Corporation, the Taxi and Limousine Commission, the Department of City Planning, and one representative from Brooklyn-based, tech workspace New Lab. As a part of its winnings, the “Public Square” team will have access to New Lab and all of its resources to build a working prototype of their idea.

Public Square differed from its competitors in that the design team did not make any assumptions about what the driverless future will look like. During the firm’s presentation, FXFOWLE Principal Jack Robbins, AIA, LEED AP, explained “We couldn’t come to a consensus on how autonomous vehicles would shape the future of New York. So instead, our design is built upon allowing the city to be flexible and experimental in its transition to a driverless future.”

The design incorporates a “plug-and-play system of interlocking unitized squares, roughly 8’x8’ in size, with built-in infrastructure and a wide variety of surface module programs”, which can include public restrooms, community gardens, bike paths, green space and public seating. These programmatic modules are designed to sit on top of pre-existing streets and can be easily installed, reconfigured and removed, easily responding to the needs of the city as it moves into a driverless future.

Urban Oasis’ farm-to-table food truck and QueueY’s “smart curb” beacon presentations preceded Public Square. Designed by Lily Shi, Yodai Yasunaga, and Jiaming Zhang, Urban Oasis focused on mitigating food deserts through autonomous vehicles that would travel from farms already in the GrowNYC network to areas that lack access to fresh, healthy ingredients. Hexagonal in shape, the vehicles are large enough to hold a human traveler inside who would take stock and assemble CSA boxes en route to these deserts. Once there, the car would “unfold” and become a store front. Urban Oasis also imagined that these irregularly shaped vehicles could be linked together to create pop-up farmer’s markets. When asked how this system would compete with and distinguish itself from meal delivery options like Blue Apron or Fresh Direct, Urban Oasis pointed to the fact that low socio-economic neighborhoods can also be low-tech neighborhoods. The automated vehicles cut out the need for a smart phone or internet access, making access to fresh food truly equitable.

Designed by Daniel Hui, Danil Nagy, Spencer Wright, QueueY focused on creating curbside smart beacons for autonomous vehicles picking up and dropping off travelers at high-density traffic bottlenecks, such as Madison Square Garden. Building off current strategies used by Uber and Lyft at airports, these beacons would function in tandem with ride-sharing apps and independently function as kiosks for travelers using cash. The jurors expressed concern over the mixing of for-hire rides and public transportation imagined in the QueueY system, as well as the proliferation of advertising on city streets that could result from the installation of QueueY kiosks.

Finally, IBI Group‘s SAVe proposed an extension of the MTA’s ADA network to bring disabled travelers directly to public transportation hubs through a ride-sharing app—trips that can take up to an hour or more for a disabled individual to do on their own. While designed for the disabled, autonomous vehicles could also be used by able-bodied travelers. Because the SAVe network would be linked with MTA, MetroCards could be used to pay for the rides. The jurors expressed concerns for the safety of disabled passengers alone in cars that could also contain able-bodied travelers with criminal intent.

During the 20-minute deliberation period, runners-up HAAS Alert and Carmera also presented.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

New York Public Library 53rd Street Branch by TEN Arquitectos. Steele's role: Principal in Charge/Project Architect. Photo: TEN Arquitectos.
Featured Member: Andrea Steele, AIA Featured Member
Congratulations to @babkwth for winning our first-ever #ArchtoberSelects Instagram Challenge.
Field Condition Names Winners in Debut #ArchtoberSelects Instagram Challenge Reports from the Field
CLP 2017 Inaugural class: (l-r) Ayodele Yusuf, Jenna Leigh Wandishin, Daniel Horn (back row), Michael Caton, Michaela Metcalfe, Christina Hernandez, A.L. Hu, Shilpa Patel, Jack Dinning, Jessica Morris. Credit: Center for Architecture
Policy Pulse: Announcing 2017 Civic Leadership Program Class Policy Pulse
AIANY Emerging New York Architects Committee Civic Leadership Program (CLP) kick off at the Center for Architecture. Credit: Center for Architecture.
Civic Leadership Program Kicks Off At the Center for Architecture
Nike New York Headquarters by Studios Architecture and Workplace Design + Connectivity. Photos courtesy of Nike.
In the News In The News
Names in the News Names in the News
Submit your work to the 2017 AIANY COTE Awards!
New Deadlines New Deadlines
The Bier House by Kaneji Domoto, featured in "Kaneji Domoto at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonia,” on view through 08.26.17. Credit: Thad Russell
On View On View
Classifieds Classifieds
Public Square by FXFOWLE. Image: FXFOWLE/Driverless Future Challenge.
Driverless Future Challenge Names Winner Reports from the Field
Apartment, New York. Photo: Michael Moran.
Featured Member: Leonard Kady, AIA Featured Member
A temporal collage of the historic site by Seher Erdogan Ford.
Announcing the Recipients of the 2017 Arnold W. Brunner Grant for Architectural Research At the Center for Architecture
Hyper-Efficient Building Workshop on 06.14.17 and 06.15.17. Credit: Center for Architecture
Policy Pulse: New Hyper-Efficient Building Training Launches Policy Pulse
From left: Peter Lampen, AIA; Luke Surowiec, LEED AP; Steven Winter, FAIA; John Lee, AIA. Photo: Center for Architecture.
A Closer Look at 80×50 Initiative’s NYC Retrofit Accelerator Program At the Center for Architecture
Bartholomew Voorsanger, FAIA, Principal, Voorsanger Architects, and Alastair Gordon, Contributing Editor, Architecture and Design, Wall Street Journal. Photo: Center for Architecture.
Cocktails and Conversation with Bartholomew Voorsanger, FAIA, and Alastair Gordon At the Center for Architecture
Koray Duman, AIA, LEED AP, Founder, Büro Koray Duman. Photo: Nicholas Calcott/Surface Magazine.
Featured Member: Koray Duman, AIA, LEED AP Featured Member
Hilary Ballon (1956-2017). Courtesy of NYU Abu Dhabi.
In Memoriam: Hilary Ballon (1956-2017) In Memoriam
NYPL Mid-Manhattan Library renovation by Mecanoo and Beyer Blinder Belle.
In the News In The News
Names in the News Names in the News
Cast and Place by Team Aesop, winner of the 2017 FIGMENT City of Dreams pavilion competition.
New Deadlines New Deadlines
Harris House site plan by Kaneji Domoto, featured in “Kaneji Domoto at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonia,” on view through 08.26.17. Courtesy of the Kaneji Domoto Family Archive.
On View On View
Classifieds Classifieds
Waterproofing of the facade system and roof at 540 West 26th Street for Savanna. Design Architect: Morris Adjmi. Rendering: Morris Adjmi.
Featured Member: Howard Zimmerman Elevated to AIA College of Fellows Featured Member
From left: Signe Nielsen, RLA, FASLA; Cynthia Rosenzweig; Susanne Desroches; Jeffrey Raven, FAIA, LEED BD+C; and Jee Mee Kim, AICP. Photo: Center for Architecture.
Climate Change in NYC: Bridging Science and Practice At the Center for Architecture
Courtesy of the Center for Active Design.
Policy Pulse: FitCity 2017 Lands in Queens Policy Pulse
Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, Astoria, Queens, NY. Somvanshi’s role: Associate, Project Manager and On-site Supervisor. Firm: Ennead Architects (previously Polshek Partnership). Photo: Jeff Goldberg/Esto.
Featured Member: Kalavati Somvanshi Elevated to AIA College of Fellows Featured Member
Robert Michael Kliment, FAIA. Courtesy of Kliment Halsband Architects.
Robert Michael Kliment, FAIA (1933 – 2017) In Memoriam
Museum of Modern Art  east section renovation by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Gensler. Credit: Iwan Baan
In the News In The News
Names in the News Names in the News
09.17.17: Call for Entries: 2017 AIANY COTE Awards
New Deadlines New Deadlines
Lurie House by Kaneji Domoto, featured in "“Kaneji Domoto at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonia,” opening 06.22.17. Credit: Thad Russell
On View On View
Classifieds Classifieds
New York City Police Academy by Perkins + Will. Photo: Courtesy of Perkins + Will.
Featured Member: Michael Plottel Elevated to AIA College of Fellows Featured Member
AIANY Opposes Paris Climate Accord Exit From the Desk of the President
Manhattan Districts 1/2/5 Garage and Salt Shed by Dattner Architects and WXY architecture + urban design, 2016 Building of the Day. Credit: Center for Architecture
Call for Archtober Buildings of the Day New Deadlines
Upper East Side residence by Gabellini Sheppard, New York. Photo: Paul Warchol.
Michael Gabellini, FAIA, Delivers AIANY 2017 Gil Oberfield Lecture At the Center for Architecture
AIANY representatives at AIA New York State's "Architects in Albany Advocacy Day." Credit: Center for Architecture
Policy Pulse: 2017 Architects in Albany Advocacy Day Policy Pulse
Families make collages of their dream playgrounds. Credit: Center for Architecture
Draw, Design, Build! NYU Teams Up with the Center for Architecture for Family Programming Learning by Design
Weill Hall at Cornell University, Ithica, NY. Photo: Scott Frances.
Featured Member: Renny Logan Elevated to AIA College of Fellows Featured Member
The Shed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Rockwell Group.
In the News In The News
Names in the News Names in the News
New Deadlines New Deadlines
Siegel House by Kaneji Domoto, featured in “Kaneji Domoto at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonia,” opening 06.22.17. Credit: Thad Russell
On View On View
Classifieds Classifieds
AIANY 2017 President David Piscuskas, FAIA, at the National Summit on Design and Urban Mobility. Credit: Center for Architecture
Are We Ready for Autonomous Vehicles? From the Executive Director
Reflections at Keppel Bay in Keppel Bay, Singapore. Photo: Keppel Bay Pte Ltd.
Featured Member: Daniel Libeskind Elevated to AIA College of Fellows Featured Member
Join us for FitCity 2017! Hunter's Point South Waterfront Park by Thomas Balsley Associates and WEISS/MANFREDI. Credit: Albert Vecerka/Esto.
Policy Pulse: FitCity 2017 Policy Pulse
Speakers of "Hesitation and Constraints: Barriers to Social Research in Practice." Credit: Center for Architecture
Social Sciences, Good for Your Bottom Line and Society At the Center for Architecture
The Quad Cinema, renovated by Projects Design Associates with rebrand by Pentagram. Credit: Marion Curtis / StarPix.
In the News In The News
Names in the News Names in the News