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The Genius Challenge sought to find ways to improve communication and efficiency in the transit system.

Making the transit system a better place, one robot at a time.

The MTA has announced the eight winners of its Genius Transit Challenge, a contest encouraging entrants to design new solutions to modernize the transit system.

Launched in June 2017, the Genius Challenge received 438 applicants, with half of the proposals not in current commercial use. The challenge the MTA posed to the applicants was to design ways to increase transit throughput and capacity through communication and control infrastructure. Part of this included ways to increase internet connectivity in the tunnels for better communication between MTA workers themselves, as well as passengers.

Bechtel Innovation, part of the largest construction and civil engineering firm in the United States, won big with its Big B design. Big B is a robotic installation that would do the manual work of installing communication systems throughout the tunnels, climbing on tracks, into stations and to service bays. The design can free manned crew to do more skilled labor.

Bechtel Innovation reinvested its $500,000 prize into developing a team that can work on the design idea.


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