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The barrier to entry for a smart car can be described in one word: cost. Smarter cars are in the future, but most people will be unable to experience smart cars for years because of price.
We wanted to lower the barrier to entry. As of a couple of years ago, more than 50% of Americans owned a smartphone, the FCC and Germany declared Internet a utility. Smartphone and Internet use has never been higher, and modern smartphones have more than enough power to make a car smart.
What it does
So we did just that. We took smart functionality that you would find useful in your car, and implemented it in our app and service.
Whether of business travel or for personal use, we help track your gas spending and miles traveled for responsible driving feedback.
IntelliDrive Efficiency is a computerized way to monitor your vehicle's fuel efficiency through data entry whenever you fill 'er up.
Getting tired on the road? Stay awake with our sassy chat bot Mia who will give you a run for your money with a lively conversation.
How we built it
Our service is broken into three parts, a robust data aggregating API, an Android front end, and a website.
Our API has a number of REST APIs that any service can hook into. It receives data back from the API calls, and aggregates data in an easy to read format on AWS EC2 instances. All data used by the site is collected by our Android app which we get by polling GPS and triangulating position over a number of set intervals. We push our data back up to the server every 10 minutes or so. We display everything on our website using a combination of PHP, HTML, CSS, and JS.
Challenges we ran into
Threading on Android gave us some issues we run a number of processes off of the main thread to keep the UI fast, and for all networking. Ensuring every thread had an entrypoint back to the main thread was difficult. There were also some initial issues with routing RESTful APIs to where they needed to go.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We made a full fledged service with a well documented API, app, and website with unit tests in under 36 hours.
What we learned
36 hours is both a very long time, and a very short time. It's amazing to see how much we were able to do in 36 hours, but when thinking about how much we could scale our idea, it seems like such a tiny amount of time.
What's next for IntelliDrive
Just wait and see. We want to continue development on the app and website for the forseeable future, so make sure to check out or website, and watch our GitHub!