Event Recap: AT&T Connected Car Hackathon – Santa Clara, CA
What happens when over 178 EXTREMELY motivated developers, designers and entrepreneurs get together to hack the connected car next to one of the largest Auto Shows in the area? They get inspired to build 22 jaw-dropping automotive themed apps! AT&T Hackathons always create an environment that support developers and this week at the Santa Clara Convention Center we strived to help inspire them as well.
AT&T Hackathons were designed by our own Alex Donn in 2010 as part of a marketing outreach and demand generation program for our API program. Since that time, we have hosted over 80 hackathons in 4 countries and in over 20 states. You can find out about our prior and current events here, and make sure to attend our upcoming Connected Car and Home Hackathon at CTIA in Las Vegas on September 6th with over $60k in prizes!
AT&T Connected Car Hackathon Event Overview
AT&T Hackathons bring together developers, designers, marketers, and entrepreneurial types to launch projects and startups in just 24 hours. Attendees pitch ideas, form teams, and build prototypes within that time period while guest judges help pick the winners. The best part is that many of these aspiring entrepreneurs continue the pursuit long after the weekend is over and strive to launch a business from the concept.
At this hackathon, we focused on connected car related projects with the intent of looking at innovative ways to use automotive diagnostic information, use a car to trigger events at home or work, and to make your traveling experience more convenient. Projects revolved around mobile apps and mapping/geofencing, and included embedded solutions like Arduinos and Freescale Freedom boards.
Day 1 – Lightning Talks and Team Formation
We kicked off the event on Friday evening with a full dinner and had over 178 participants join us at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The event then moved into lightning talks with experts within the newly minted connected car sector and mapping experts from Esri and Mapbox. These experts provided a view into the current connected car sector, offered guidance on technologies available, and gave some awesome demos of what is on the horizon. Attendees then came up to pitch their ideas and skills to their peers. They had only 60 seconds to sell their concept and communicate:
● Who they are and what they can do
● The problem they would like to tackle
● Their current concept of how to solve the problem
● What they need to solve that problem
In addition to lightning pitches and teams formation, we had a cool demo table for littlebits. For those who are unfamiliar, littlebits is a startup that has created a series of tiny circuit boards that snap together with magnets to create an embedded systems tool similar to Legos that is great for learning and prototyping. If you have children and want to get them interested in STEM, I would definitely take a look at whether these are a good fit.
Day 2 – Code Completion and Pitching!
A number of teams stayed overnight at the Santa Clara Convention Center and Saturday morning we kicked off the day with a huge breakfast! There was plenty of food, caffeine, and snacks to keep everyone energized and cranking away. To keep the excitement going, we also whipped up some bacon and bacon fried chicken wings for everyone along with quite a spread of food from the following restaurants over the course of two days:
● Thai Chili Cuisine
● Panera Bread
● Extreme Pita
● iChaat Cafe
While the majority of attendees were adults, we had a number of middle school, high school and university students attend the hackathon, as well. Team Yum.Club was one such team and although they did not walk away with a prize the judges, were left speechless by their apps stunning UI, which would have put most production applications to shame.
The winning teams clearly communicated the problem and the solution, and were rewarded for it. The judges carefully assessed the potential of each app and selected the winners after a thorough discussion. The top teams were:
● Best Connected Car App – $10,000 – StayingAlive (pictured above)
● Best Use of AT&T APIs – $2,000 – AutoOrder
● Best Use of Esri Technologies – $1,000 – Greener
● Best Use of Market Opportunity for Traction Labs – Car Sense
Big Thanks to Everyone Who Came Out to the Hackathon!
These events are made possible by the generosity of our sponsors: Esri, ROC, Traction Labs, and Wahoo. The events keep getting better and better, and it’s all because of the amazing team of organizers, volunteers, judges, mentors, partners and participants! If you’re interested in receiving updates about future AT&T Hackathon events, please connect with me and Alex on Facebook and Twitter (@benelson83 & @Alex_Donn)!
Without further ado, below is a list of all the app ideas that were pitched:
Team Real-time Customer Care on the Cloud – Two decades ago the bottle of execution was in computing, one decade ago it was in storage, now it is in networking. Both Creativity-driven Algorithmic Innovation and Big Data on Cloud-driven Machine Learning, are the two cornerstones of our Intelligence Mansion, and we are on the right way now.
Nothing Manual Cannot Be Automated, and Nothing Automatic Cannot Be Smartified! The reason why it is not automatic/smart now is because cost. Once that is underway, it will be not far away for us to enjoy a Fully Automatic & Truly Smart Society to be powered by Innovation Automation and Creativity Recreation.
Team CarSense/SafeOrNot – You want to know the moment you park your car whether the location is safe or not. Usually in a city like San Francisco there are areas where it’s just not safe to be there and park your car.
Team StayingAlive – Driver distraction and drowsiness is the #1 cause for all major – especially – fatal car accidents. Often the victims are other cars (ie, a sleepy truck driver causes a freeway pileup). We can reduce the accidents (and insurance premiums in the future) by using smartphones to detect driver behavior. We use sophisticated face detection (and some face recognition), to distinguish when the driver is nodding off or is not paying attention. This gives a rising series of “nice” warnings to annoying alarms. Every driver wants to reach home safe, but when in a car alone, they can try to push to reach destination. A short nap, a rest stop. Interestingly, we are also using ESRI API to find hotels and parking places nearby…so there is no excuse not to take a break.
Team ParkrMarkr – ParkrMarkr combines robotics and mobile technology to let drivers find parking in congested cities like San Francisco and Palo Alto. Crowdsourced sensors map available parking and catalog open spaces in the ParkrMarkr mobile app where users can easily see specific open parking spots and pay to reserve them.
Team Karpool – The smart way to commute.
Team Housetaraunt – So, how does Housetaurant℠ work? First, qualified nonprofit charities authorize monthly fundraiser dinner parties online at Housetaurant.com. Second, private homeowners and startup companies list their kitchens and availability at Housetaurant.com. Next, hosts voluntarily agree to cook gourmet meals ordered from approved meal-kit delivery service providers such as blueapron.com or plated.com. Lastly, member donors receive alert notifications or find local fundraiser dinner events supporting a specific charitable organization using the Housetaurant℠ mobile application. After choosing an activity, users submit quid pro quo contributions and then they may personally invite guests via e-mail and SMS text. As a service mark of WHOmentors.com, Inc., a Housetaurant℠ fundraiser dinner party is exempt from regulation as a food facility! For more information, visit housetaurant.com
Team Time to Spare – Our application is designed to help users with their everyday lives. Whether users are running errands or meeting a friend, our app calculates and displays the “Time To Spare” based on time of arrival and destination. The app communicates with other designated friends by automatically sending texts (using AT&T APIs) that communicate whether the driver is on-time or late. The app also lets the user know whether they have time to stop for that favorite cup of coffee or pick up their dry cleaning on the way. We hope our app increases driver safety by decreasing the need to text while driving; if you are running late, your phone can do the texting for you!
Team InformationSuperHighway – InformationSuperHighway is a ride companion that offers insight in the area that you are driving through. City facts are spoken and given when the user is idle (no movement detected) for a period of time.
Team autoOrder – autoOrder allows drivers to safely order food while driving so they can pick it up at the restaurant.
Team Yum.Club – Yum.Club is a food delivery service that acts as a middleman for people to order food from any restaurant of their choosing based on the app’s optimizations.
Team Greener – Greener app gamifies eco-friendly driving habits. Volunteering gives you a warm fuzzy feeling for doing something good. Greener app brings that feeling to your driving experience. We take mojio device data about hard braking and fast acceleration (things that waste gas and are bad for the environment) and display it in real time on a phone mounted on a dashboard. Over time, the driver learns how to drive efficiently, use less gas, have less wear on their car, and be a safer driver. Good for the planet and good for the bottom line. Let’s build a greener planet together.
Team PreciousLife – Life is precious. Integrating the heat map of accident zones into the navigator app along with the allowed speed limit, school zones, senior center, curvy roads, parks etc. Receive a voice alert when you enter the heat map of the accident zones so that people use caution to drive and it also displays on the smart license plate so that drivers can drive with caution.
Team FamilySense – FamilySense knows who’s in and outside of the car. If you happen to forget someone in the car, FamilySense will notify the adults who were just in the car. No more children left in the car.
Team Antitheft Picture Alarm – Save the city from car break-ins and view who is intruding into your car.
Team Curbside – Curbside enables drivers to order from their favorite restaurants and businesses, without ever leaving their car or waiting in line. Through voice recognition, customers can place orders while on the road. Restaurants immediately receive a push notification with their order information, their car model, and their estimated arrival time. Curbside makes it easy for businesses to manage and analyze their operations through customer notifications, accurate ETAs and technology that lets them track our drivers in real-time.
Team Up – Our app has three main functions: The first one is to help users schedule carpooling; the scheduler allows people to input a schedule of where they want to be and when. Using this data, users are paired anonymously so that they can carpool to their locations of choice. The second feature is alertness. The phone can be mounted on the car, and it will take pictures of the user, and using facial recognition will alert the user with AT&T text-to-speech to wake up, and also alarm them with alarm sounds. Lastly, the user can turn on a setting (automatically turned on in the night), which makes the user respond to a text-to-voice message from the phone, with a “yes”, which is recognized in speech-to-text. Both of these features are meant to keep the user up & awake.
Team Sober Key – We present the key that doesn’t let you drive drunk. Lock your car with a challenge.
Team Ambience – Ambience is a futuristic connected car app that will be able to control various interior devices of the car such as Music System, Interior lights, AC, Sun/Moon roof, and fragrance controller. It will be connected to various devices that can help cheer up the driver and can control the Ambience of the car to help the driver become more energetic and cheerful. Ambience interfaces with a variety of connected devices and APIs, including smart watches, health APIs, email Calendars, Weather APIs, and more to determine the correct Ambience for the driver.
Team Autoresiefuher – A car travel guide.
Team Car-1-1 – 1.6 million people die every year due to using a cell phone while driving. Our app, Car-1-1, aims to change bad habits while driving. Through the use of alerts, eye-tracking, phone-usage tracking, the app strives to discourage drivers from using their cell phones while in the car.
Team iUniverse – Motivation to work on your goals in your own private time while driving your car.