Imagine if you could avoid parking fines, make money from your car while it’s parked at an airport or fuel your car without visiting a filling station.
These are concepts behind smart apps designed to help change the way the world moves and improve mobility that won a 24-hour coding challenge hosted by Ford’s Connected Vehicle and Services team.
Other apps included an in-car call management service, a ride-sharing service connecting drivers and hitchhikers and an efficient way to maximise load-carrying in trucks.
The apps were developed against the clock for the first Ford SYNC AppLink Mobility Challenge, held in Berlin during IFA – the world’s leading consumer electronics trade show.
“The creative ideas developed at the Ford SYNC AppLink Mobility Challenge in Berlin could enable people to go places, earn extra money, and get more out of their time behind the wheel with greater ease than ever before,” said Don Butler, Ford executive director, Connected Vehicle and Services.
“With innovative solutions for parking, car-sharing and other mobility services, the incredible range of new app ideas presented made it very hard to choose the winners.”
Attracting 35 teams and 75 developers from 10 countries, the eight Ford SYNC AppLink Mobility Challenge winners will receive significant support – including a cash prize of €20,000 to one winner, five slots in the Techstars program Startup Next, Ford AppLink Mobility Edition, and two wildcard slots into Berlin’s premier accelerator programme Axel Springer Plug & Play.
Ford is currently expanding into both an auto and a mobility company, pursuing emerging opportunities through Ford Smart Mobility – its plan is to be a leader in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience, and data and analytics.
SYNC AppLink enables drivers to voice-control apps while keeping their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel, and already MyBoxMan enables drivers to earn money for delivering packages for others, after being developed during the SYNC AppLink Developer Challenge at Web Summit in Dublin last year.
Ford provides software and technology to the app developer community through the SYNC AppLink Developer Program – with more than 15,000 registered users. The free SYNC Emulator software enables developers to create and test apps for compatibility with the carmaker’s connectivity system – without needing to access an actual vehicle.
The Ford SYNC AppLink Mobility Challenge gave developers the opportunity to engage directly with Ford engineers and business teams − to develop ideas and apps that could be brought to the market faster, with Ford’s help.
Through the partnership with Techstars, Ford is launching the company’s first pre-accelerator programme in Berlin, building on the Ford-sponsored mentorship programme Techstars Mobility, Driven by Detroit. Ford is collaborating with several startups to enhance navigation, connectivity and ride-sharing initiatives.
The eight winning apps were:
Autlo – automatically pays for parking without the driver needing to worry about parking tickets or potential fines. The app also terminates paid parking when free parking time comes into effect (Techstars winner)
BeeRides – enables car-owners to park at airports for free and rent out their cars with full insurance coverage to those arriving, providing a cheaper car rental option and earning the owner money in the process (Techstars winner)
Ellis Car – analyses automotive and road data and uses gaming elements to provide personalised recommendations to drivers to improve their driving skills and reduce their fuel consumption (Axel Springer winner)
Hal – delivers a single conference manager solution for drivers, enabling them to easily dial into teleconferencing providers such as Skype and Google Hangouts (Techstars winner)
Make My Day – makes running errands more efficient by providing the optimal route and informing the user in advance how long each task will take and the total time for all errands to be completed (Axel Springer winner)
POMP – delivers fuel to companies and individuals, saving drivers from going to filling stations themselves (Techstars winner)
Smart HitchHike – provides a ride-sharing service that connects drivers and hitchhikers. The app displays the locations of available cars to hitchhikers and offers a ‘thumbs up’ function for instant rides (Techstars winner)
Truckfly – locates empty trucks to help companies find the best carriers for their loads. Truck operators can find their next stop, plan their route, fill their trucks and benefit from carrying loads in both directions (cash prize winner)