HP2g put out a release last night claiming withdrawal from the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE as well as making some unsubstantiated allegations. I’d like an opportunity to set the record straight:
As you recall, HP2g was one of over 120 teams that entered the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE non-binding Letter of Intent program. While Mr. Pelmear states in his release that HP2G voluntarily withdrew from the competition, HP2g actually did not complete the full Registration Application prior to the deadline and was therefore rejected as a Registered Team.
Mr. Pelmear claims in his statement that an LOI contender “was allowed to be part of the competition rule setting and ultimate team evaluation process” (italics added for emphasis). As for the former, X PRIZE deliberately sought feedback from a variety of sources in an effort to construct a fair competition incorporating the best industry insight from a wide range of automotive experts. It is true that all teams in fact had the opportunity to provide input... We recorded over 2,000 comments, held a webinar with the LOI Contenders, and reviewed and considered input from every LOI Contender that took the time to contact us. We also held multiple working groups with industry experts to establish the competition guidelines.
With regard to the latter accusation levied by Mr. Pelmear, at no point were teams were involved in decisions about rules and procedures. It is very important to note that none of the teams are part of the judging panels for the upcoming Design Judging Phase of the competition nor were any teams part of a competitor evaluation process in the past.
Here are two excerpts from official documents that may prove useful:
From the Letter of Intent itself:
“The Team will receive timely updates on significant competition developments, including the release of draft competition guidelines for public comment. In addition, while there is no guarantee that the Team’s suggestions will be accepted, the X PRIZE Foundation will provide written responses to all comments and suggestions submitted by the Team in response to the draft competition guidelines. As well, the Team will have an opportunity to submit additional comments before final competition guidelines are released."
From the Competition Guidelines:
“We recognize that some contributors may end up competing, or perhaps advising those who compete, but that is an unavoidable result of engaging with so many experts who have real-world knowledge of the automotive industry. We believe that the Guidelines published here are balanced and credible, and that this would not have been possible without seeking as much feedback as possible from diverse parties, without regard for future possible conflicts. Had we only sought or accepted input from those unlikely to have a future interest in the competition, the result would have been poor Guidelines. Our process has been open, and we do not hide our involvement with any party."
“With the publication of these final Guidelines, we are adopting a strict no-conflict policy. For example, the Prize Development Advisory Board will be disbanded and we will now appoint a conflict-free Prize Administration Advisory Board."
As to his unsubstantiated allegations, I can only say that the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE has consistently run a highly-public and transparent process in accordance with the highest professional standards of conduct as a fair and honest broker. We wish Horsepower Sales well in the development and sale of their technology and we remain focused on our accepted Registered Teams. We wish them all luck as we move forward to the Design Judging phase of the competition.