Aubin Journey Planner App for Autistic People: Our Story
So, how did it all start?
Aubin started with a conversation with one of our clients about creating a travel app for autistic children. One of our team, who is parent to an autistic teenager came up with the suggestion of a needs focused journey planner based on travel preferences, rather than the quickest route. As a team we discussed how a journey planner could be made to tackle the issues faced by autistic people when using public transport and from this the idea behind Aubin was born.
Unfortunately, due to lack of funding, the client project never went ahead. Regardless, we felt like we were really on to something and kept coming back to the idea. There are some 600,000 people classified as on the autistic spectrum in the UK today, many of whom find travel on public transport overwhelming and stressful, and we felt we had an idea that could really make a difference.
However brilliant an idea, making an app costs money and the one thing we were lacking was the backing to fund this. We looked at ways we could raise money and initially decided to try crowdfunding as would not only help us to raise funding, but it would also give the community the chance to get directly involved with the creation of Aubin.
Having built on the idea, our technical team worked on proof of concept and we then decided to reach out to the autistic community to see how the idea would be received. In June 2017 we took the idea to the Autism Show in London. The idea of Aubin was warmly received by people we spoke with and this gave us the encouragement and inspiration to keep pushing the idea forward and do what we could to make it a reality.
After the Autism Show we started to generate publicity via social media and build relationships with Autism charities and members of the autistic community. We have built a strong relationship with The Mouth that Roars (MTR), a youth Media Organisation based in Shoreditch, East London. We hosted workshops with the members of MTR (many of whom are autistic) to discuss how Aubin should be designed, how it should work, and what tools are needed to help reduce stress on public transport.
All the hard work we put in paid off as we were selected as one of 10 companies by London Midland and 383 to join the LMLabs Accelerator programme. We worked on the programme for 12 weeks, developing our designs and prototype.
At the end of the programme, we were able to present Aubin to the public at the culmination of the project on the Demo Day on 18th October.The LMLabs project proved to be a roaring success as it resulted in London Midland pledging us an amazing £30,000 to enable us to build the Aubin prototype further.
That brings us to today. We now have the means to get Aubin off to a start, but we are still looking for sponsorship to take it beyond the prototype, so we ask you, please help spread the word far and wide and share.
If you are able to sponsor us please let us know. We are also seeking input from autistic people, parents, carers, charities and schools to help us build an app that is built for the autistic community, with the autistic community.
This is our project. We’ve come so far and learnt so much about autism along the way. We believe we have an idea that can make a huge difference to many autistic passengers and their families and we would love you to be a part of this and help us make this happen.