Inspiration

I realized I usually only ended up checking the traffic and my eta after getting into my car. This meant I'm usually unsure of the delays and often end up underestimating the traffic. By using Alexa, I would be able to check in on the traffic while going about my daily chores, without needing to key it into my phone each time.

What it does

This Alexa skill uses voice commands to return the traffic conditions in a 2-mile radius of my current location and the estimated time of arrival to any location from my current location.

How I built it

This is built using Amazon Alexa, MapQuest's APIs and Node.js. I created various intents for the possible voice commands and used https get requests to call the data through MapQuest API and parsed the JSON before returning the pertinent information through the Alexa interface.

Challenges I ran into

I faced some challenges initially when developing on the Alexa Skills as I had no prior experience. I also had minimal experience coding in Node.js and felt that this project provided me with a basic introduction to it.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

As I did not manage to find members willing to try my idea, I had to hack out my project alone. I had to strip out many functionalities due to lack of manpower but I feel like I have tried to create a working prototype in the short time available.

What I learned

Definitely come with a team and a good plan. It pays to spend the time to execute the plan in a neat and structured manner. I also realized that there is a lot of APIs available for me to continue tinkering with even after this hackathon.

What's next for Plan My Trip

I actually have plans to integrate Twilio API as well. This would increase the capabilities of the Alexa Skill by allowing the user to send themselves SMS reminders about when to leave to arrive on time. It would also allow the user to send their friends their ETA so that they can be kept appraised of the timings.

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