Inspiration

Mobile based On Demand TaxiCabs are disrupting the transportation landscape and yet causing grief in the form or expensive "surge" pricing. The goal of this project was to create a more Egalitarian ecosystem that recognizes the rights of TaxiCab Drivers to a just wage; the rights of consumers to fair and transparent pricing and last but not the least provide a way for Car Manufactures like Ford to participate and thrive in a period of stagnating auto sales.

What it does

The above is achieved via two orthogonal systems viz Egalitarian Routing and Blockchain based Egalitarian Finance Model.

Egalitarian Routing: Here the hack focused on creating a visual interface which allows women passengers to choose other women passengers. This increases the safety of women passengers. And with more women sharing a cab the price of ride comes down. However it introduces an unusual side effect.

Greedy Surge Pricing vs Egalitarian Pricing. Uber has introduced the concept of surge pricing which benefits the driver and Uber at the cost of consumers. An Egalitarian routing system that is beneficial to passengers, comes from the pocket of the driver as he might, have to, at times drive without a passenger (Male passenger might be available but rejected in view of safety). Hence Blockchain is used to note down the “good behaviour and monetary sacrifice”. The good behaviour is then subsequently rewarded at the end of the month.

Blockchain based Egalitarian Finance Model. There are 3 players in the Blockchain based Egalitarian Finance Model. Each player has different goals and different vested interest. Blockchain is used to come to a common consensus and results in win -win for all. Passengers of Taxi-Cabs: Ideally want least cost of rides with no waiting time. Safety is paramount. Ready to pay a bit more (but not much more) Taxi-Cabs: Maximize the number of people carried in least number of trips to increasing profits. Typically a cab driver has very little in the form of a credit history and lives in pay-as-you-go world. This means he pays the highest interest rate and highest rate for car repair and maintenance.

Car Manufactures: Have the ability and means to get best interest rates worldwide and implement and maintain sophisticated Blockchain based solutions. Their interest lies in creating a stable eco-system that predictably consumes the cars being produced. By creating a Blockchain based Egalitarian Finance model Car Manufactures provide cheaper access to credit to Taxicab drivers (who have no credit history or balance sheet to negotiate better rates). This incentive doesn’t come free. Its provided only to those drivers that act in an Egalitarian fashion, buy Ford Cars and provide the service the consumers demand. Consumers in return have to buy “Ford Egalitarian Pass” a Blockchain based rewards program at the beginning of every month. This stable inflow of funds is used to reward drivers and pay for the slightly increased cost of travel at normal times [Yet cheaper than surge pricing]. A part of these funds goes to Ford for bearing the associated credit risk. The travel rates can change as more information and behaviour of drivers gets recorded on the Blockchain. Passengers who use this system more can also be rewarded. By locking in Passengers and Drivers via the Blockchain based incentive scheme Ford can create a pool of taxi-cab drivers that buys only Ford Cars.

How I built it

Using Meteor the Front end and Egalitarian Routing was built. This can be accessed via desktop, laptop, mobile and tablets. The Blockchain part was built on IBM Bluemix Blockchain (Beta).

Challenges I ran into

Some Bugs are yet to be resolved but the software is at a “Proof of Concept” stage. Since IBM Bluemix is in beta very little of the Blockchain of has been implemented. Right now it just acts a ledger that dutyfully notes Egalitarian Routing. But the idea of doing Risk Management on the Blockchain is sound. In future Ford can offload some of the risk using P2P finance on Blockchain. Also I used the free version of Google Map Apis which has a limit on the number of waypoints (Stops and Pickups). Thus if you look closely you will see that the last person is not dropped at his destination. By using the paid Google Premium Apis this bug can be solved.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of && ## What I learned

Google Material Design and Google Maps Api

What's next for SmartCab

Blockchain based Risk Management is a very nascent field. But it provides tremendous hope and opportunity. I plan on pursuing this as P2P finance can create a more Egalitarian TaxiCab Sharing ecosystem that rewards taxi cab drivers, passengers and Car Manufactures.

This model can work in Morocco, Mumbai and Mexico City. It is globally scalable.

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