Revolutionising mobility in London at Ford Mobility’s Kerbspace Hack
Saturday morning on the 30th November in London was a crisp and sunny one, as participants arrived at WallaceSpace Spitalfields bright and early for a weekend of coding. As 100+ developers, designers, idea generators and business minds arrived to fill up the venue, they were greeted with a warm breakfast and an even warmer greeting from the Ford Mobility team who were eager to see what everyone would achieve over the weekend.
So what was the challenge? Traffic congestion, emissions, road accidents, etc. limit the efficiency of urban transport systems. Kerb plays a pivotal role in transforming urban transport systems, not just for on-street parking but as pick-up/ drop-off points, delivery hotspots, parking new mobility vehicles, etc. Participants were challenged to design a solution that would improve or optimise mobility utilising kerb assets — today and in the future.
Teams were advised to focus on one key user while keeping in mind that projects will be judged on the bigger picture and their impact in all three areas: Cities, Commerce and Citizens. All participants were invited to take part in a two week ideation programme online prior to the event to get information in exclusive webinars and access content that would ensure they hit the ground running on site.
As we kicked off with an inspiring video from Ford and a warm welcome from event organiser Vimisha Parmar (Senior Project Lead), and member of the jury Richard Balch (Director City Solutions), the coders were eager to pitch their ideas and start forming their teams. Each participant with an idea had 60 seconds in the lime light to get their solution across to the audience, hopefully winning them over enough to come on board and form a team. Fast forward an hour — the teams were formed, had found a spot to pitch up for the weekend, and received their API key ready to kick off the coding!
We had a record breaking 16 mentors from Ford Mobility who were excited to provide guidance to the teams and see what can be done with their tech — this was the very first time that the Kerbspace API was being used by the public. The tech mentors had pitstops for each team to ensure they were on track, and were keeping a beady eye on API activity in the backend to monitor activity.
So let’s meet our teams!
So want to know more about Ford Mobility Kerbspace? We thought so. Digital Kerbspace is a suite of bespoke solutions that have been developed in collaboration with city and local government partners to manage their kerb more effectively. Previous and current work includes digitally mapping city on-street parking, a parking guidance app for drivers, and using live vehicle data to identify empty parking spaces nearby. These solutions can help cities to optimise their kerb assets, enhance revenues and improve traffic flow.
As the evening drew in, the teams were all in code-mode, with their game faces put on, pausing only for the drone race and the dinner (pasta buffet — the best hacking fuel out there!) With some taking a quick break to play on the arcade games, pose for the photo booth or go head to head on the World’s Largest Pacman — this hack was definitely not short on entertainment. And so then….the overnight coding starts…
Sunday morning started with some sleepy faces and lots of coffee as a whopping 35 participants opted out of going home to stay on site and code till the sun came up. As soon as breakfast was served, the teams were invited to a workshop on how to give a great pitch. BeMyApp gave hints and tips for what to include in the all-important 3 minute demo to the jury, what to leave out, how to make their slides look great and most importantly how to show they have ticked off each aspect in the judging criteria.
So how were the jury going to be scoring? Here is the criteria the teams were working to:
Innovation 10%: Is this a brand new concept? Has it been done before? How would you rate its overall creativity?
User Experience 10%: How pleasant is the general look of the product? How user-friendly? How easy to navigate for a newbie?
Business Plan 10%: Is there a market for it? Is there money to be made with this?
API / Dataset Usage 70%: How well have you made use of the API? Have you made good use of a good number of datasets?
As 4.00pm came around it was end of code, and the start of the final demos. Our esteemed jury were poised and ready to watch the demos from each of the teams, and put them on the spot in the Q&A after each pitch. Once we had seen all 19 teams…it was over to them to make the tough decision of selecting the winners.
After some careful deliberation (while the beer and pizza party started for our hard working teams) the jury resurfaced to make the winner’s announcements:
1st place winners — Kerbie: Kerbie app enables drivers to park in kerb side parking spots easily, quickly and cheaply, with automatic help from the app and Kerbie algorithm. Drivers simply drive, learn which cheap spaces are available, they park into those spaces and book the parking with 2 taps. They then walk to their final destination quickly and without stress.
2nd place winners — Parksense: ParkSense is an app for the considerate driver, who looks to make conscious parking location decisions according to their preferences. Combining industry defining data sources like the Kerbspace API with our proprietary ParkSense algorithm, our solution offers you the choice of parking slots, allowing anyone from those who feel most vulnerable to the budget conscious driver to find where to park.
3rd place winners — GetParked: Using a combination of data sources such as Kerbspace API, Air Quality Data and near live data from parking payment providers and the entire fleet of Ford vehicles; we can deliver a predictive capability which enables users to identify not only where spaces or charging points are but their likely availability.
Well done to all 19 of the teams who worked tirelessly over the entire weekend — we saw some amazing solutions to revolutionise parking and driving in our city. Watch this space!