Join us to participate in the upcoming 2019 City:One Challenge. 

Serving the Underserved: Make Mobility Technology "B1" with the Community

Bedestrian helps spend more time caring for people, less time carrying goods. Mobility technology that delivers pharmaceuticals and food.

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At Bedestrian, we see the Challenge as an opportunity to include a community largely left behind to co-create the future of mobility. We know advanced mobility technology has evolved to a stage where its promise can be put to use immediately to solve real pain points for residents, while including them in a cohort of early adopters that defines the future of autonomy at scale. In that respect, like Ford, we have two feet firmly planted in the realities of today's Austin community, but a big vision for our technology's impact on its future transformation. 

Specifically, our B1 lead robot and B2 trailer make up a system of robotic vehicles that deliver goods and services on demand.  While mobility technology and hardware - i.e. Scooters, e-Bikes and AVs - focus on increasing options for moving people, at Bedestrian, we’ve focused in on an overlooked population: the homebound. 

The rapidly increasing senior population as well as individuals with disabilities will continue to be underserved regardless of the number of solutions for moving people. 

Instead, in this pilot we’d like to focus on serving homebound individuals that are unable to pick up prescriptions drugs. As a follow on, we also see opportunity to serve people that cannot plan, shop, or prepare nutritious meals for themselves due to post-op surgery, illness, disability or other challenging effects of advanced age.

We are currently working with Beaumont Hospital  to leverage our lead robot "B1" in service of cancer patients, nurses and the pharmacy lab. Specifically, our focus is using our bot in freeing up nurses and pharmacy techs from having to make 40-100 deliveries of chemotherapy drugs a day. Doing so enables them to do what they do best: care for patients and mix pharmaceuticals, respectively. Most importantly, the use of our technology means less minutes that a patient in need has to spend waiting for the treatment they require. 

We have had in-depth discussions about providing the same service to Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. Which is what got us excited about Austin and working with similar hospitals in Austin!

We see a similar opportunity to serve the underserved in Austin. 

serving an Austin community that is relatively underserved in terms of healthcare clinics and pharmacies. We've allowed ourselves to imagine an opportunity to demonstrate the future of pharmaceutical delivery - as well as other tele-medicine services (i.e. wellness visits and safe disposal of expired prescription drugs) for people in Austin. Residents of the community that have utilized Austin health System in the past and been prescribed medications from hospitals Pharmacy's - particularly those individuals that are homebound our lacking alternative transportation options - could utilize the Hospital Rx app via Bedestrian's delivery service. The same could be done with those individuals that already have local Hospitals Health patient relationships.

While the excitement of using our technology to literally "connect people, places and opportunities" as the City:One Challenge sets out is in delivering goods and services people need today.

For now, we will set up a staging area in Austin to run pilot deliveries. In the future a clinic or pharmacy could serve as a de facto distribution warehouse while also serving the people within urban setting. 

While our focus is clearly technology in service of human need, the richness and excitement of the pilot opportunity doesn't end with meeting the needs of homebound populations. 

A critical aspect of how we view the future of ubiquitous delivery bots is about their technology. From our voice interaction that will literally make B1, be one with the community to the always-on nature of autonomous bots. 

Our B1 technology not only allows for secure transport of goods, but thanks to our hybrid tele-operation and autonomous technology model, it also serves as a de facto neighborhood security enhancement vehicle with a live streaming 360 degree view of its surroundings. In partnership with Innovation Works ( we've designed our tele-operation capability to set up monitoring in physical locations  leveraging advances in digital technologies. From 2D and 3D maps of buildings in the Impacted Area to Digital Twins of B1s in order to inspect and direct their activity when necessary, we will be able to track all of B1s paths in real-time. With our partner Innovation Works, we are on the cutting edge of leveraging Virtual Reality and Dynamic Data visualization to monitor and tele-operate robotic vehicles. Rather than wait for Level 5 perfection, we are focused on human oversight of otherwise autonomous bots. 

Doing so has multiple benefits: Alleviates safety concerns, speeds the timeframe of solution delivery and creates an entirely new category of employment (i.e. ground traffic controllers) that community members can potentially participate in. 

Additionally, the benefit of ubiquitous bots is not just in the delivery of goods but in their contribution during 'down-time' when it is not making a delivery. We have engaged fellow start-up Kuhmute ( on how to combine our technology and services to provide for mobile charging - as well as pick up and delivery - of alternative mobility solutions such as Spin scooters. 

As such we want to pilot an example of how Ford is orchestrating that future - through the City:One Challenge - by enabling an autonomous delivery robot start-up (Bedestrian) and our collaboration partner to pull the future of autonomous technology forward in service of the Austin community.

While Ford and others are rapidly moving toward deployment of autonomous vehicles at scale, we believe the same technology scaled down to fit a delivery robot can be deployed in service of people, t

Describe who will use your solution (1,000 characters)

Helping residents overcome physical, social or emotional barriers to transportation; and making key neighborhood services and amenities mobile - to reduce or eliminate the need for various daily trips. We've been designing its system of vehicles with the objective of enabling a delightful human-machine interaction. Again, our focus is on the ability to deliver goods on-demand. Delivering prescription drugs (or food) to homebound populations and food deserts are basic functions envisioned for B1. The software layer of B1 solves for many of the pain points articulated by community members. Our NLU voice assistant and touchscreen interface are designed to increase people’s (including non-English speakers) comfort level with robotic interaction. Lonely or elderly walkers can utilize "follow me mode" as a companion. Public safety officials can utilize our live-stream and location data.

Describe your solution's stage of development

  • Pilot - you have implemented your solution in a real-world scenario

Insights from previous testing (500 characters)

The essential insight gleaned from our pilot with Beaumont Hospital - Dearborn - has been that we can leverage autonomous technology and teleoperation in target areas with niche use cases in service of people with needs, now. There are individuals in need of goods and services - pharma, food, and healthcare services - and there are real barriers preventing them from receiving them. Precious time is lost due to geography/location and human processes. Our tech is perfectly positioned to solve.

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

We have small, scrappy and diverse team that believes in the power of collaboration. Our core team has several decades of experience in the automotive industry and SMEs from software engineering, public service and academia. We build partnerships across various domains as a means for designing innovative solutions: healthcare (Henry Ford/Beaumont), consulting(, electric charging ( and food prep( Our joint mission is mobility tech in service of humans.

Size of your team or organization

  • 11-50

Team or Organization URL

Funding Request

  • $100,000

Rough budget (500 characters)

$ 80,000.00 Full vehicle components (two vehicles) $ 100,000.00 Mapping/Logistics development $ 80,000.00 Teleoperation SW and HW $ 20,000.00 Charging Infrastructure $ 20,000.00 Testing and deployment cost Total: $300,000 (the remaining budget above $250K would be funded by alternative resources)

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

e envision working with Ford's City:One team to identify a diverse cohort of individuals from the community that would be willing to participate. The cohort would include homebound seniors and/or their caregivers. Ideally we'd collaborate with with a local hospital or pharmacy to pilot a prescription delivery program. (Alternatively, we'd work with a local food market - e.g. HoneyBee Market - on the delivery of fresh produce and essential foods.) Our initial B1 bot is a production-level prototype designed for safe delivery of prescriptions. We have another B1 and B2 in development with food delivery modules. For this pilot we'd utilize funds and resources from the Challenge in part for a staging area for deliveries and tele-operation oversight and identifying a volunteer cohort of participating residents - as well as possible partners (i.e. Henry Ford). We'd put our technology and team to work on the rest: defined path, training the bots and the stakeholders.

Describe how you would measure the success of your pilot (1000 characters)

1-Ability to deploy and sustain an operational solution 2-Users perceived and measured value 3-Partners (our B2B customers such as hospitals) projected and measured value

Sustainability Plan (500 characters)

We are in early discussion of a plan to generate revenue based on partnerships such as extending pharmacy services for Henry Ford or other participants.

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