Inspiration

We were moved by the alarming rates at which drunk-driving accidents occur and take lives. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 27 people die every day in America as a direct result of drunk driving. This is our unconventional take on building an application for social good, to address an issue that desperately needs attention, especially through modern vehicle integration technology.

What it does

Sentinel is a web application built for mobile, which determines how capable the user is to drive, based on a series of challenges, and help from the users' trusted contact. Based on this, the app can forbid the user from driving by tapping into endpoints that lead to vehicle APIS, like Ford OpenXC, which can be used to disable ignition. The app also connects seamlessly to the Uber application, which is its safe bet for when either the user is incapable of driving or when the app is uncertain about the user's capability to drive.

How we built it

Sentinel is powered by a PHP backend, MySQL database, and utilizes HTML, CSS, JavaScript and jQuery across its frontend. The application has been developed for mobile, and is embedded inside a WebView for Android. The application also has endpoints for vehicle APIs. In addition, we used the Twilio API to obtain confirmations through text messages.

Challenges we ran into

We were confident of creating powerful integrations with Ford's APIs when we set out to build the application, but were unable to do so because of time constraints, as well as some errors with debugging using emulators for those APIs. In the end though, we decided to leave it as a RESTful API, which can be tapped into for future integrations with different automobile platforms like Android Auto, GM's Developer APIS etc.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We're proud that the final application is in line with our initial vision for it. We're also proud that this takes a step towards combatting an issue, that we feel deserves to be addressed more, especially through technology and innovation.

What we learned

We learned how to integrate a web application with text messaging through Twilio, which absolutely blew our minds. In addition, we learned about building web applications for mobile and customizing them to enhance the mobile experience, while keeping them scalable across a variety of platforms.

What's next for Sentinel

For the future, we'd definitely want to create a more seamless and richer integration with vehicle/driver APIs, to include inputs from heartbeat sensors in cars that can support, but more overall control over the car to improve the app's functionality.

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