Our inspiration for Shotgun came from our summer plans. Our group of friends was planning a roadtrip to Kansas and, without a car or the confidence to drive such a far distance, we were looking for an alternative. We thought Uber would be too expensive, the bus wouldn’t be comfortable, and hitchhiking would be too unpredictable. That’s when we came up with Shotgun.

What it does

Shotgun allows people going on roadtrips to take others with them, for a fee. Essentially, it’s a long-range Uber with an emphasis on vacation. Shotgun acts instead as a connecting platform, to connect riders with drivers and vice versa. Users can browse trips by location and departure date. For those extra-long distance rides, users also have the option to chain multiple Shotgun trips in advance.

We know that it can be a gamble to be stuck for days in a car with strangers, so we’ve given users the ability to describe themselves. On each user’s profile, you can find things like their age, occupation, all the way to their sleep schedule and music taste. Users can also link other social media like Instagram, Facebook, etc.

The experienced guide who’s taken a certain trip for decades can introduce the small group of college students out for a little fun to their favorite hiking trail, hometown attractions, or surf spot. And the best part about this is that either group can be the hitchhiker(s).

This app will revolutionize the travel world by providing a new style of spontaneous and cheap travel.

How we built it

The app layout and graphical user interface (GUI) was prototyped using Figma. We prototyped what the app would look like on the device that we were using to test. We then exported and then incorporated the design into a functional demo using React Native, which gave us an opportunity to evaluate the end-user experience.To power the login and signup pages, we used the Firebase Database Authentication from the Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

Challenges we ran into

One of the main challenges we were faced with was brainstorming an idea to tackle the challenge, as the prompt was open-ended and a lot of ideas could address it well. We ended up combining some of our ideas into a single concept to expand on the functionality that our project could deliver. Additionally, we took up the challenge of using the Google Cloud Platform inside our application, which we were relatively new to using. This gave us the opportunity to learn how we could use these enterprise developer tools to enhance our conceptual model.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We believe that we have gained a deeper understanding of one of the key emerging areas of technology. Smartphones and software services have transformed the concept of ride sharing from taxis to a multi-billion dollar industry, and we believe that we can take the concept to the next level by integrating these services. Through these emerging platforms and technologies, we are able to consider how the modern travel experience can be revolutionized.

What we learned

We learned how to integrate the tools provided from GCP into an application. With the Firebase Database Authentication tool, we could test out how our users could enter their login and signup details into the application and then be granted access to their profile. Additionally, we learned how to use the prototyping tools in Figma to make it easier to import the design (frontend) into the application (backend).

What's next for Shotgun

The next logical steps for Shotgun will be optimizing the user experience on the application and integrating into the real world. We plan to survey individuals who use ride-sharing applications and understand what features they would want to see in an application like this. This will allow us to improve the functionality of the service and take out features that might seem redundant to users. Additionally, we would need to come up with a sustainable business model, which would include a reward system.

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