What is the inspiration behind Transcend?
How many times have you passed by famous restaurants, incredible landmarks, and special places without knowing they even existed after days, months, or years from your drive? Maybe you weren't able to visit the place because you were on a trip, lost, pressed for time, or pressed for gas & battery. Transcend is here to make sure you never miss an exciting experience in your whereabouts.
What does Transcend do?
Transcend uses cars’ real-time locations to inform drivers about their immediate surroundings. For example, imagine you are driving in Texas, and you just passed one of the oldest barbecue places that was established in 1808 (Wow!). Transcend will update your car screen with an amazing fact and will talk to you about this amazing BBQ experience. As you continue your drive, Transcend will detect places, such as touristic attractions, famous renowned restaurants, and stores to inform drivers that they are passing (or about to pass) such places.
In order to maximize the opportunity to visit special places, Transcend also integrates drivers’ Google calendars so it can tell whether or not stopping at these special locations will not drastically impair your gas or battery levels to fulfill the events in your calendar (e.g. picking up children at school every day at 5 pm, dentist appointments, going to work, etc).
How was Transcend built?
Challenges we ran into
The Transcend team would like to provide drivers a very engaging voice that tells the facts, places, and ads about drivers’ surroundings. For that, we had to create a very sophisticated Text-to-Speech (TTS) algorithm hooked up with our real-time location API that could talk to drivers in a very personal manner. Since we are simulating a Ford vehicle, we had some troubles with the authentication and getting the updated location before processing the places nearby. To overcome this, we had to create a JSON file that was constantly updated to hold the most recent tokens for accessing Ford's API.
Accomplishments the Transcend team is proud of:
We are proud to create a smart system that can make people fully aware of their surroundings and discover interesting facts about the places they drive by. The Transcend team is confident that we created a very user-friendly system that could easily be implemented in millions of vehicles around the globe, providing engaging and informative data in real-time.
What did we learn?
The Transcend team had a wonderful time learning how to use Ford’s innovative APIs. We also learned how to integrate a myriad of calendars and their data with the main Transcend system, and how to work with an on-demand Text-to-Speech (TTS) API. Let’s not forget that we also learned best practices to hook up all the different parts of Transcend’s system together.
What's next for Transcend?
Transcend is looking forward to expanding Transcend’s algorithm to accept advertisements from merchants so that people get customized ads based on their real-time locations as they drive by (imagine getting a McDonald’s ad or an ad about a famous bookstore or landmark as you drive by it). We are also looking forward to providing deeper gas and battery analysis with our current Calendars integration, wherein we’d provide more elegant deep learning and regression algorithms to predict gas prices in the future.
In addition to that, Transcend would like to implement a social feature that connects other Ford drivers for more unique experiences.