ENDEAVR stands for Envisioning the Neo-traditional Development by Embracing the Autonomous Vehicles Realm. We are a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to futureproofing small communities by enabling them to become smart cities. We enhance their capacity to utilize emerging technologies, such as autonomous vehicles, ICT, IoT, and AI, to accomplish desired socio-economic, environmental, and health outcomes.
ENDEAVR was launched in 2018 as a pilot project, sponsored by Texas A&M University and the W.M. Keck Foundation. The foundation of ENDEAVR is interdisciplinary smart-city education that empowers young people to seek creative, affordable, and effective solutions for challenges faced by underserved communities and underprivileged populations.
The success of ENDEAVR if built upon trust and partnership among educators, students, industry, and local communities.
ENDEAVR currently has two programs.
PROBLEM. In the U.S., there are 16,411 small communities (as of 2018) with a population of less than 10,000. These communities typically have a low population density, lack public transport services, and offer limited accessibility to daily services, making it particularly challenging for residents to fulfill their essential travel needs and access healthcare.
SOLUTION. In early November 2020, we launched ENDEAVRide, a novel “Taxi + Telemedicine 2-in-1” service, delivered on a self-driving van. (See Figure 1). Our launch site is Nolanville (population 5,330) is a small town located in central Texas. Like other small communities, Nolanville is a “desert” of public transit, with only one feeder bus stop and a paratransit service barely meeting the minimum requirement by federal law. Vulnerable populations, defined in this project as people with disabilities, those living in carless households, and older adults, have struggled to obtain needed transportation and health care.
The ENDEAVRide autonomous vehicle is currently at Level-2 autonomy. The project uses a unique community-engagement approach called Tag My Town (TMT) to develop the city’s digital infrastructure to support the future deployment of Level 4-5 autonomy. TMT allows residents to do “coloring” on real video data from the community and thus help train the self-driving model. We thank WOCSOR LLC for their in-kind donation of the autonomous vehicle technology.
NEXT. With proximity to Fort Hood Military Base nearby, Nolanville and its County house over 40,000 disabled veterans and must deal with compounded economic, medical, and social vulnerabilities, which have made it difficult to provide needed transit options. We are raising funds, aiming to build a nonprofit fleet of ten Taxi+Telemedicine vans by the end of 2021. This would be the nation’s first nonprofit self-driving fleet, delivering affordable transportation and healthcare to disabled veterans and thousands of vulnerable populations living in Central Texas. Our endeavors are inspiring the world!
ENDEAVRX is an interdisciplinary project-based learning platform that connects students from the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) disciplines with industries and communities.
Student trainees take an interdisciplinary seminar course and an interdisciplinary project-based learning course. They seek affordable and effective solutions for real-world challenges such as climate change, transportation, aging population, governance, economic growth, and social inclusion. Students develop interdisciplinary competence, critical thinking, and creative-problem-solving skills.
ENDEAVRX has trained more than 100 Texas A&M students from civil/electrical/mechanical engineering, computer science, landscape architecture, urban planning, and visualization. They work in interdisciplinary teams to transform Nolanville, Texas into a smart town by turning emerging technologies into solutions.
ENDEAVRX can be implemented in other higher-education institutions, and thus transform the nation’s interdisciplinary education in the era of smart and connected communities.
Media Coverage: https://bit.ly/ENDEAVR_NEWS
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