Polytechnic Univ. team wins $25K in Toyota Mobility Challenge
The Human Urban Bicycle team (HUB) from the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico secured a spot among the four winning teams in the 2023 Toyota Mobility Challenge. The team, consisting of students Radulf Bassmeson, Valeria Droz and Luis Nigaglioni, along with Prof. Luis H. Rodríguez, successfully completed both phases of the university competition, earning them a $25,000 grant as supplemental funding for the development of their innovative concept and patent procedures.
The team proposed a digital application for affordable electric bicycle rentals, planning to establish a solar-powered rental station on the university campus. This station would offer free Wi-Fi and recharge the bicycles. The application would also gather user data, providing insights into travel routes, calorie consumption and contributions to environmental sustainability.
Valeria Droz explained that the project aims to reduce emissions from short-distance travel, commonly referred to as the “last mile.” With The HUB’s proposal, they intend to provide an eco-friendly alternative for students to travel on electric bicycles to nearby destinations at a lower cost.
During the first phase of the challenge, each team was required to submit an 800-word essay addressing how mobility impacts Puerto Rican society and proposing solutions to enhance mobility. In the following phase, teams presented their proposals to the evaluation committee, which selected HUB as one of the winners.
George Christoff, president of Toyota Puerto Rico, emphasized that the challenge seeks to engage the most creative minds on the island and encourages university students to join the initiative of devising solutions to Puerto Rico’s mobility challenges.
“With the Toyota Mobility Challenge, we aim to support the inspiration of our youth and provide resources to turn these great ideas into reality,” Christoff explains in an official challenge document.
Ernesto Vázquez Martínez, the institution’s president, thanked Toyota Puerto Rico for supporting students in bringing their creative ideas to fruition without financial constraints.
“I deeply appreciate Toyota’s commitment to supporting alternative mobility systems and their trust in our students by selecting them as winners of this challenge,” he stated.