Four finalist teams will be announced soon. The winner will be selected live at the NY Tech Meetup on July 11.

Registration for the Driverless Future Challenge is currently closed. Four finalists are being selected by a jury that includes leaders from IDEO, Uber, Volvo, the NYC Mayor’s Office, Mercedes-Benz and the Design Trust for Public Spaces. Finalists will present their ideas to a panel of NYC Government Officials at the “Pitch The City” event on July 11 at a special edition of the monthly NY Tech Meetup. The winner will be announced live at the event.


Join us at the NYU Skirball Center on July 11! Tickets to the event can be purchased here.

Image: The NY Tech Meetup is NYC’s preeminent monthly showcase for innovation and technology.

We founded Blank Space in 2013 because we were tired of entering competitions to design the same things over and over again – designing fictitious skyscrapers, houses and museums doesn’t have a great positive effect on society. We knew that designers, innovators, entrepreneurs, and engineers could do more. After all, the city isn’t a single building, it is our environment and our future. Today we are excited to launch a challenge that aims higher – it’s called The Driverless Future.


The Driverless Future Challenge seeks proposals that actively shape the city’s response to driverless cars. It’s not about the cars themselves, but everything else: from parking solutions, to new uses of roadways, intersections, and sidewalks. What tools can be built to increase the accessibility and use of autonomous mass transit? How can shipping and logistics be improved? How can new business models and software tools be leveraged to shape our surroundings? Participants in the challenge will pitch concrete solutions — and together with our partners, we will help the winning entries turn their proposals into real companies and products. Because if we don’t start shaping the city, who will?


Blank Space is proud to partner with the NYC Mayor’s Office, New Lab, Fast Company, and AIANY to host the challenge and support winning entries beyond the challenge. We are joined by the NYC government agencies that are grappling with autonomous transportation the most: the Department of Transportation (DOT), Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), and Economic Development Corporation (EDC).


Our goal is nothing short of envisioning the impact of autonomous transportation in one of the most complex cities in the world.


After all, if autonomous cars can make it here, they can make it anywhere.

Competitors will submit 3 minute “pitch” videos that encapsulate their proposal and its relation to driverless transportation in New York City.

The Driverless Future Challenge invites competitors to actively create solutions and products that harness the power of autonomous transportation in New York City. Competitors are free to select any facet of driverless technology, from zoomed-out city-scale solutions, to small interventions within the urban fabric. The only requirements are that proposals are actionable and use New York City as their canvas.

The most successful entries will be smart, actionable, and ready to actively redefine the city.

The primary goal of the Driverless Future challenge is to create a launchpad for entrepreneurs, innovators, designers, engineers, architects and futurists to enact real change in New York City. The jury will place extreme emphasis on entries that harness existing technological abilities into previously unconceived solutions for an autonomous future.


This can include proposals for services, products, software, hardware, and other buildable interventions within the city. Participants in the challenge are highly encouraged to form interdisciplinary teams that combine architects and designers with technologists, scientists, and fabricators.


The Pitch The City event is only the midway point in the Challenge. Finalists will continue to develop their proposals into real products and companies with the support of Blank Space and its partners. 

Image: New Lab in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Four finalist teams will receive one-year flex memberships for New Lab and its fabrication facilities.


Originally released in 2007 under the name “PlaNYC,” One New York: The Plan for a Strong and Just City (#OneNYC) is a groundbreaking effort to address New York City’s long-term challenges: the forecast of 9 million residents by 2040, changing climate conditions, an evolving economy, and aging infrastructure. The rise of autonomous transportation will significantly impact all of these challenges.


The Driverless Future Challenge asks participants to evaluate the future of autonomous transportation in NYC through the lens of OneNYC.


OneNYC encapsulates how the physical city should be shaped to address a range of social, economic, and environmental issues while building on New York City’s strengths. The plan takes into consideration population projections, housing, air quality, coastal protections, and other sustainability and resiliency factors. Entries into the challenge are strongly encouraged to do the same.


Read more about OneNYC at:

A world class jury of government officials, designers, engineers, architects, technologists and visionaries.

We are proud to have representatives from some of the most innovative companies, studios, and agencies in the world, including Volvo, Uber, Mercedes-Benz, IDEO, and more.


Jury members include Jeff Merritt (NYC Mayor’s Office of Technology), Susan Chin (Design Trust for Public Space), Kate Daly (NYCEDC), Sander Dolder (NYCEDC), Danny Stillion (IDEO), Davin Stowell (Smart Design), Aravind Kailas (Volvo), Michael Replogle (NYC DOT), David Belt (New Lab), Dunia Dupont (New Lab), Benjamin Prosky (NY AIA), David Piscuskas (1100 Architect), Rodney Stiles (NYC TLC), Eric Rothman (HR&A Advisors), Jeffrey Inaba (INABA WILLIAMS), Odile Decq (Studio Odile Decq), Juergen Mayer H (J Mayer H), Matt Sweeney (Uber), Courtney Ehrlichman (Traffic 21 Institute), Matthew Daus (Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf), Ken Krueckemeyer (Strategies for Cities), Marco Plewe (Mercedes Benz Research & Development), Michelle Cheung (Mercedes Benz Research & Development) and more.


Download the brief to see the whole jury.

Four finalists will present to NYC’s top government officials and leading technologists at the Pitch The City event.

Four finalists will receive travel stipends to present their proposals at the “Pitch The City” event in July 2017. Each team will show their video and have a chance to answer questions from the expert panel.


Think of it like ‘Shark Tank’ for designers, innovators, entrepreneurs, engineers and architects.


The winner will be announced live at the event, in front of a large audience, and a panel of top government officials and leading technologists. All challenge participants will receive a free ticket to attend the event. More details about the event location and date will be announced soon.

Image: “When Architecture Tells A Story” event hosted by Blank Space at the National Building Museum.

Pitch to NYC Commissioners, free flex memberships to New Lab, cash prizes, and free subscriptions to Fast Company for all participants.

Four finalist teams will receive one-year flex memberships for New Lab, where they can access work space and state-of-the-art fabrication facilities to realize their proposals. They will also have a chance to present their designs at the annual Fast Company Innovation Festival in October 2017.


In addition, all competition participants will receive a free subscription to Fast Company magazine, either in digital or print format (participants can choose the delivery method when they register).

Image: All participants will receive a free 1-year subscription to Fast Company magazine and finalists will have a chance to present at the Fast Company Innovation Festival.