Innovate Mobility App Challenges

Ford Motor Company invites software developers worldwide to participate in the Innovate Mobility Series. As the global population becomes more interconnected, we must adjust our approach to mobility. This series which started on July 15, 2014, consists of various App Challenges focused on exploring mobility issues facing communities around the world. Whether you reside in a rural area or are experiencing the frustration of traffic congestion in a large city, the goal is to make mobility accessible and affordable. Check out the challenges, and see how you can contribute.

New Challenges for 2016

  • Mexico Smart Journey: To help get Mexico City moving, Ford is asking app developers to leverage data from public transportation organizations, private transportation companies, and crowd-sourced projects to help Mexico City residents and visitors get to their destinations — using a wide range of transportation options — in the best and most efficient way possible.

Challenges from 2015

  • Hsuehshan Tunnel Transformer: Submit solutions to relieve the extreme traffic congestion on the Taipei-Yilan Freeway and in the Hsuehshan tunnel during peak travel times.

  • Mexico City Mobility Challenge: Submitted solutions must focus on reducing the number of vehicles with only one occupant and should also encourage enjoyable, safe, and efficient transportation that relieves traffic congestion in Mexico City.

  • São Paulo Mobility Global Challenge: Submit apps that combine the use of cars and public transportation to help ease traffic in São Paulo city!

  • Australia Challenge: Make driving more enjoyable. Create accessories and apps that enhance the driving experience for vehicles traveling in Australia Outback.

Challenges from 2014

  • Parking Lot 2.0: Take parking into the 21st century. Submit software that reimagines outdoor parking lots in Los Angeles!

  • City Delivery Challenge: Big impact for large cities. Use software to redefine & improve how goods are delivered in Lisbon.

  • Monsoon App Downpour: Out-app mother nature. Create software to improve mobility during the monsoon season in Mumbai.

  • SUMURR mHealth: Improve mobility to extend the reach of healthcare. Create solutions to help provide uncompromised healthcare in rural areas in Tamil Nadu.

  • SUMURR Golden Hour: Help make every minute in the Golden Hour count. Create software to enable timely and better quality care to trauma victims in Delhi.

  • Urban Commuter Challenge: Help commuters in the world’s largest city. Submit commuter-focused software for residents of Shanghai.

  • Mobility Integration Challenge: Simplify multi-modal trips in Chongqing, one of China’s largest cities, to help people move around their city more easily as they navigate the “Mountain City’s” complex geography.

London Traffic Tamer App Challenge

Ford is currently sponsoring the Traffic Tamer App Challenge aimed at solving the issue of traffic congestion in the city of London. Part of this challenge encourages developers to use OpenXC in their solution to address the problem. Submissions are open from October 23rd, 2013 to January 15th, 2014 March 4th, 2014 at 5:00pm EST.

Personalized Fuel Efficiency Challenge

On March 27th, Ford launched a challenge to the developer community to create innovative apps on top of the OpenXC platform to help drivers better understand and improve their personal fuel efficiency.

Boing Boing Data Driven Hackathon Projects

Data Driven was a hackathon organized around OpenXC as part of Boing Boing’s Ingenuity event. Check out some of the great projects that came out of the hackathon below:

  • OpenXC Van-Go: This team used Super-Awesome Sylvia’s WaterColorBot. to paint pictures based on live OpenXC data. TechNinja explains more here. Joe Grand gives us a vehicle tour in this video.
  • Autobahn: Using real-time data gathered from OpenXC, Autobahn synthesizes the data into a MIDI musical composition.
  • Smart Brake Light Al began this hack at Data Driven and expanded on it at the Ford Electrified Vehicle Hackathon. Using his existing PIXEL hardware device with 32x32 RGB LEDs, he introduced functionality that would warn drivers of sudden stops. At the Electrified Vehicle Hackathon, Al’s team added voice triggering and functionality to thank a fellow driver for something. See the demo and check out Al’s Instructable.

Ford Electrified Vehicle Hackathon

Ford hosted a hackathon over the weekend of September 7-8 at TechShop Menlo Park where participants used an experimental version of the OpenXC API that allowed them to control select functionality in the car via API calls.

  • OpenXCThenThat: Winner, Best Application. Similar to If This Then That, OpenXCThenThat gives people a simple way to automate daily tasks in their lives. For example, one could automate a task such that if a vehicle crosses out of a geofence, the owner of the car is notified by text. Alternatively, as a car approaches an owner’s home, OpenXCThenThat could automatically trigger interior lights and HVAC.

  • Smart Brake Light: Winner, Craziest App Please check out the project description above in the Boing Boing Data Driven hackathon.

  • Smart Battery App: Winner, Best Eco App This project used OpenXC to set the state of charge (SOC) on a plug-in hybrid vehicle so that it uses battery energy while going up a hill and and then captures energy while going downhill. The project identified optimal points for when the vehicle would change the SOC setpoint and used geofencing to identify locations where the change would happen

  • Follow Me: Winner, Best Use of Write APIs. This app runs in two cars traveling together on the highway. The system monitors the current speed of the lead vehicle and pushes it to the following car through a cloud server. The following car sets its cruise control based on the speed of the lead-car.

  • OpenXC-Graphite: Bob Pielock and Nick Williams set up a Raspberry Pi running Raspbian, Graphite and a bunch of other good stuff to collect and visualize data in the car. While the car was parked, they could actually display on the built-in touchscreen via the video-in RCA jacks. See Bob’s blog post for more details.

  • Death In the Air: CO2 level monitoring inside a car. Using an Arduino-based CO2 sensor, this project monitors the CO2 levels inside the car while driving. If the level goes above some threshold, the app will instruct the HVAC system to bring in fresh air rather than recirculate the air.

  • Backseat Driver: An Android app that allows a backseat driver to bother their phone rather than the driver.

  • Stress Route: This project uses a clip-on finger health sensor (blood oxygen level and heart rate) to identify stressful situations while driving. Over time, the app could be used to infer high-stress geographic areas.

  • Driver Buddy: Driver Buddy aims to keep drivers alert while driving. The app will cause the car to beep at regular intervals and change the radio volume every once in a while to keep the driver on their toes.

  • S-Driver: An app focused on safety, infotainment, and maintenance as a dashboard app for Android. The app monitors vehicle status and automatically uploads to Evernote using their API. The app will trigger auto reminders in the car, such as a reminder telling you to get the car serviced.

  • Engine Mode Change: This project changes the EV behavior of the vehicle by automatically switching between the EV modes so that (if the car was over 50% SOC), it would run in EV mode most of the time. If the accelerator pedal is pressed down hard, the app will enable the gasoline engine. This way you would drive around much more in EV mode, and only enable the engine when you really, really wanted it.

TechShop Tour

Ford’s Research and Advanced Engineering team is on tour in 2013! The engineers will be hosting a hands-on OpenXC workshop at every TechShop in the United States. At the workshop you can learn how to build vehicle data into Android applications, test with live vehicle data from a Ford vehicle, and build (and take home!) a complete Retro Gauge.

If you are attending one of the workshops, check out the page of reference materials collected just for the event.


  • (past event) San Francisco: June 21-22
  • (past event) Austin, Texas: July 19-20
  • (past event) San Jose, Calif.: Aug. 16-17
  • (past event) Pittsburgh: Sept. 13-14
  • (past event) Menlo Park, Calif.: Nov. 9-10
  • Chandler, Ariz.: TBD