Inspiration

   As a freshman at UC Merced, we're limited to the things we can do because we do not have the freedom a car can grant us. This means we are forced to take the bus or worst, Uber if we want to get somewhere and since we're college students, you can already tell which is preferable for our wallets. This idea stood out because it didn't just apply to us, but to other students who may ride the bus as well.

What it does

   Rapid Wheels is an Android application that informs the user where the bus currently is and what the estimated time of arrival is. Conceptually, there will be a Dragonboard on each bus which provides GPS coordinate every set interval, which is updated into a database. The phone will get the data and perform the calculations.  

How we built it

   First, some of us learned Android Studio while the others got materials. We knew we wanted to use a GPS device and fortunately, the hardware lab had one a Dragonboard. To save the information on a database, we got a AWS server to run Arangodb. Arangodb is a really difficult starting language so we moved over to MongoDB. That is the back end, now for the front end. 2 people worked on separately on Swift and Android Studio. We ended up on Android Studio because we knew the basics to Java and it didn't talk up that much time. 

Challenges we ran into

   The challenges were absurd. First off, we had two novices that barely knew how to code. The most difficult problem of this whole Hackathon was the challenge of being inclusive. It was easy at the start but as the complexity ramps up, it was difficult to find jobs that would help them. Another big challenge was ourselves, everyone only knew the basics of Java; for the first couple of hours, we brainstormed of worthwhile ideas and educated us with how to use node.js, command line, JavaScript, and Android Studio. Another challenge we ran into was the human aspect: as the night progress, productivity dropped. 

Accomplishments that we're proud of

  We're very proud that we actually got the GPS on the Dragonboard to work and send info to the database. We're also very proud to have a basic model of what our app is going to be.

What we learned

   Everyone, no matter which department they worked in, has a better understanding of the relationship between the front end and back end. We learned that this is a team effort, the project wouldn't have gone this far just with one individual. Plus, everyone got to learn something new ranging from npm and the command line to hosting a database on a server and creating a mobile app. Since we're all freshman, we learned that there is always more to learn!

What's next for Rapid Wheels

   We will take what we have learned here and try to implement it on the road. First, it would be with test runs with the GPS. Then we will try to publish a stable app, and hopefully, we can see these being implemented on Cat Tracks and maybe even bigger public transport system in the future.

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