We studied Sao Paul traffic situation and observed that in the past 5 years there has been a trend that 67% of Brazilians migrated away from public transportation and moved to private cars. People enjoyed the freedom and privacy of using private cars. The increased number of vehicles also increased traffic jams. The only vehicles that can go through are motorcycles.
There needs a solution that provides stronger and more clear incentive for people to improve their travel mode and reduce road congestions by combining all the current transportation features into a brand new travel mode.
We decide to provide a solution that allows people to travel on private vehicles that can allow them to move faster than traveling on regular cars and buses but maintaining fewer number of vehicles on the road. The solution comes with a software design that can allow them to be able to smoothly connect to each other's vehicle as well as transition to public transportation whenever possible.
What it does
Our solution comes with two parts:
Part 1 is a design of next generation vehicle, called "e3Scooter" which stands for "Easy Efficient Eco-friendly Scooter". This is an electric power driven scooter that can have carryon baggage and can combine with other scooters to form a small car or a bus and disconnect from one another to become a separate scooter. It can also be folded into a carryon if a traveler wants to switch to light rail or other public transportation.
Part 2 is our software app. Our software for demo is a web app that can run on our e3scooter dashboard device. It allows e3Scooter users to schedule ride share with other users who can be another e3Scooter rider or bus or car riders and also provide navigation/directions during a trip of an e3Scooter ride. The software is meant to support flexible travel modes that can mix ride shares with transitions to/from public transportation.
The software flow is as below:
A user logs into a web/mobile cloud platform to specify an activity route, with authentication validated by a back-end Cloud Service Center. The back-end Cloud Service Center calculates overlapping routes using machine learning capabilities. The Cloud Service Center defines a planned route that combines an e3scooter ride-share route plus public transportation route (light rail, bus, bike, walk). First, user A gets on his e3scooter and starts driving. Another user B meets user A at designated stop defined by the Cloud Service Center. User B connects his e3scooter with user A’s. The e3scooters become more powerful and energy efficient and faster in travel speed. User A and B ride to the interim destination defined by the Cloud Services, where the user A can disconnect his e3scooter and get off to get on e.g. public transportation vehicle or another community car. User B continues to ride his scooter after user A gets off the e3Scooter ride. One more user C gets on and join User B to form an e3Scooter. Later on User B gets off the e3Scooter. User C arrives at a destination designed by the backend Cloud Center. The e3Scooter is folded at a designated parking area specified by our Cloud Center. Users who use e3Scooter travel system will get points and rewards accordingly to their points level.
How we built it
We use 3D animation tool called "Blender" to design our next generation e3scooters. In the meanwhile we use a few latest programming technologies to implement our software which include express.js, mongoose, mongodb GeoJason, Bing Maps etc.
Challenges we ran into
The biggest challenge we ran into is mainly time constraint and learning curves. Our team consist of a group of highly talented and energetic young students. In summer time, most of our families travel different places and it gives our team big challenges to find time to work together. Nonetheless, we overcame hurdles and did hard work together whenever we grasp time. It became more and more an exciting project as we found that we have more ideas coming to us during brainstorming. We expect to continue our work for future phases after the Ford Challenge completes.
Accomplishments that we are proud of
We designed a new concept of vehicle e3scooter that can solve traffic jams and a new software that can present the value of our e3scooter. In addition we came up with many more new ideas that can be added to our next phase development to provide more user-friendly and powerful features.
What we learned
We grasped a lot of cool features that Blender animation tool provides. During our software development, we learnt quite a few latest technologies.
What's next for e3Mega
We will add the following features in the next phase:
- A real time traffic tracking and routing that allow users to dynamically adjust their travel plan and accept or reject ride share based on traffic conditions.
- A dynamic mixed travel mode that allows transitioning from e3scooters to cars or buses and vice versa.
- A rating system that allow travelers to rate other travelers.
- A reward system that provides incentives and credits to the travelers who use the e3scooter and software to assist reducing road congestions.