July 25, 2019

What we learned from organizing a mobility hackathon

Shrey Majmudar

Business Development

This past weekend, Smartcar hosted the Bay Area's first mobility hackathon alongside Shell and HERE Technologies. Here’s an overview of the event, some key takeaways, and our best memories.

Why did we organize HackMobility 2019?

Over the past four years, Smartcar has seen an alarming trend: transportation is broken. Today, more than ever, the world is in dire need of cleaner, safer, more efficient, and more accessible mobility solutions. Transport systems are over-crowded, traffic congestion is at an all-time high, and environmental and health concerns are rising.

That’s exactly why the Smartcar team spent weeks collectively planning and organizing HackMobility 2019. We created a launchpad to bring innovative people and companies together, to build solutions that change the mobility landscape as we know it today.

On Saturday afternoon, hackers were ideating their projects (top, middle). Smartcar held a workshop about their API endpoints and the OAuth2 framework (bottom).

Our learnings

The future of mobility is here!

All the hosts and sponsors were Shell-shocked (pun intended) by the teams’ impressive ideas, which were fully fleshed out and developed both on the back end and front end. Some of the hacks stood out to us for their tremendous ingenuity:

  • Litrides: An app built to democratize mobility — opening the ride-sharing space to the Bitcoin Lightning Network.
  • RoadBuddy: A smart voice assistant that keeps drivers alert during nighttime. The assistant interacts with drivers using verbal games, jokes, riddles, and fun facts, all while monitoring drivers’ alertness via their smartwatch (Fitbit, Apple Watch, and more).
  • Effission: A B2B2C solution which enables companies to track their employees’ carbon footprint, while empowering employees to vote for the carbon emission mitigation program their company should support.
The winning teams at HackMobility 2019.

Silicon Valley is changing the automotive space

In June of 2012, the world was witness to the original “computer on wheels” with the release of the Tesla Model S. This was the first time that a lightweight passenger vehicle had (arguably) more emphasis on technology and driver experience, with the hardware side coming in a close second. Since then, the entire automotive industry has been forced to undergo a rapid paradigm shift, where software has become one of its foremost priorities.

Today, there are more software engineers and full-stack developers working within the automotive space than ever before. And similarly, many major players—including automakers, part manufacturers, and others—have spent hundreds of millions of dollars opening up offices and ‘innovation hubs’ in the Bay Area.

All of this goes to say that Silicon Valley has an important role to play in the evolving automotive realm, and that this scope of impact is only increasing as time goes on: from Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to on-demand car maintenance and usage-based insurance, and beyond – into the self-driving arena.

Opening ceremonies kicked off the hackathon on Saturday morning.

What’s next?

We were incredibly impressed by the turnout of HackMobility 2019. The event proved two important points: First, mobility matters not only to those in the industry, but to many engineers and entrepreneurs alike. Second, developers are able to build impactful solutions for the mobility landscape in a matter of hours. Undoubtedly, they should and will be shaping the future of the mobility.

As organizers, we anticipate making HackMobility an annual event. Stay tuned!

The Smartcar Business Development team striking a pose (top). The HackMobility organizing team from Smartcar, Shell, and HERE Technologies (bottom).

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