Eight hours a week. That’s the time I spend in my car, driving to and from work. For four of those eight hours, I’m stuck in traffic. You probably know them, those moments that both the cars and the time seems to go ‘dead slow’. This leaves me more than enough time to wonder if this whole ‘traffic thing’ can’t be managed better.
Why we aren’t making use of the tons of data I, and others around me, generate to ensure our car-commutes run more smoothly, and why there’s no app yet that ensures a hot cup of coffee is waiting for me the moment I arrive. So I could not have been more excited when hearing about the Stride Project and the General Motors Developer programme at AppsWorld’s Automotive Apps track. It looks like soon we’ll be making the most out of our individual and collective generated vehicle data.
The Stride Project
Stride, which stands for Smart Transport Internet of Things Data Ecosystem, aims at creating an Internet of Things ‘cluster’ for smarter traffic through data. The BT-led project makes historical and real-time UK traffic data available to its partners and third-party developers through its information hub. Additionally, there’s also some additional data available that can be used to enrich the transport information and provide additional context for decision making by applications (such as, for example, weather data). Now imagine, that later on, you could also throw further context, such as home/work locations, driver’s mood, national holidays, .. into the mix.
Also part of the Stride project, is an Android data gathering app that ‘judges’ driver behaviour, which I’d love to give a try. Especially, as the app goes beyond merely ‘measuring’ driving style, but also detects potholes and traffic incidents. Crowd-sourcing a safer and more optimized driving experience is something I’d definitely like to contribute to. Another neat thing Stride is working on is detecting traffic incidents through social media, whereby text-analysis is used to automatically extract the nature of the incident.
General Motors Remote APIs
Where General Motors already offered an API to develop applications for their in-vehicle entertainment system, they now also have three APIs which allow developers to build apps that remotely interact with GM vehicles; Vehicle Commands, Subscriber Data, and Vehicle Data. These allow for access to a car’s telemetry data and location, information as to whom is driving (based on key), as well as for remotely starting the vehicle, (un)locking the doors, .. . Combine that with, for example, a geo-fenced area around your workplace, and you could create an app that automatically tells the coffee machine to start when you’re five minutes from the office. Looking to build an app that looks for correlations between the music you listen to, average speed and your fuel usage? That becomes possible now.
Dear Volkswagen, I absolutely adore my Polo BlueMotion TDI, am grateful for the amazing Volkswagen Assistance service, and thus would love to continue to ‘think blue’, but.. where’s your API?!
Not into tracking your car, or willing to connect it to the Internet, yet still want technology to make your ‘chauffeuring life’ a tad easier? Then give TireCheck a try!
TireCheck by Neomatix
The free TireCheck mobile app, developed by Tel-Aviv based start-up Neomatix, uses your iPhone’s camera computer vision to check if your car tires are still at the recommended pressure level. Why is this important? Well, a regular check makes sure you’re driving safely and spend less on fuel. Keeping the tire pressure at the right level is also better for the environment – less carbon emission, and ensures your tires last longer. Neomatix promises an accuracy of ±10% or higher, and says their app can also compensate for tire temperature and vehicle load. Could we have an Android version, please?
If you imagine a GM API & Stride project mashup, what would your ‘dream car-related app’ do? My fantasy-mashup would know about my mood and alertness levels, and would adjust in-car music (streamed from Deezer or Spotify) to either soothe me (when nervous or angry) or wake me up (when a bit tired). It would take into account the current traffic situation (Underworld’s Drive Boy is not suited for traffic jams), the weather (reggae when it’s raining is totally inappropriate) and the time of day (evenings call for electronic music). Given all the data sources listed above, what app would improve your rides?