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20 Hour Programming Hackathon is Using OpenXC Car API at vCampus Live!

OpenXC Hackathon vCampus Live! vCampus

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#1 myDorazio

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 10:44 AM

Here are some more details on the 20 hour long Programming Hackathon at vCampus Live! starting at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, November 28th. As Michael van der Veeken described in this post, the theme this year is car data. Participants will have available to them the data made available by the Ford OpenXC hardware-software research platform. Plans are currently to have this data coming to them in real time from a real Ford GT driven by a real employee. The data will of course be stored permanently in the PI System.

hackathon02.png

Here are some values hackathon particpants will be able to read:

Torque at Transmission: N/m2
VehicleSpeed: m/s
EngineSpeed: RPM
EngineTemperature: degC
Longitude
Latitude
Odometer reading: km
Accelerator Pedal Position: %
Fuel Level: %
Fuel Consumed: L
Steering Wheel Angle: degrees
Ignition status
TransmissionGearPosition
WindshieldWiperStatus
HighBeamStatus
DoorStatus
ParkingBrakeStatus
BrakePedalStatus
Year
Model
Make
VIN

The competition is to come up with a killer application that does something useful with this data either while looking at a single car in real-time or after looking at a thousand car fleet over the course of a year. That’s where you can help. The rule for software development is that the end user can spot something in 5 minutes that the designers can't find in a month. So please share any ideas you might have for a useful car data application. For example, here is a video that demonstrates an application that uses latitude and longitude to determine if you will arrive late to your destination and send email to those who may be awaiting your arrival.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3j5JeQdCZTs

Here is an example of an application submitted during the SXSW Eco Hackathon in Austin, Texas on October 4th that “will provide direct, metric-based, advice to drivers to increase their understanding of driving habits and suggest ways to improve their fuel economy. It will give them a way of judging their fuel consumption on trips, the cost of that fuel consumption, and the cost of alternative methods of transportation.”

As you might imagine, these efforts to provide the nation’s drivers with better ways to manage their fuel consumption is currently of tremendous national interest. The U.S. Department of Energy is involved in a variety of efforts in the upcoming months to promote new uses of data to reduce energy use. Support for the vCampus Live! hackathon is being provided by the Energy Department, and they will be highlighting the winners. We have also learned from Ian Kalin, the Director of the Energy Data Initiative at the Energy Department, that shortly after the hackathon on December 1st they will be announcing a $50,000 Vehicle Data Challenge that involves “new technologies that improve vehicle efficiency while also protecting against distracted driving.” Kalin said he would welcome participants of the vCampus Live! hackathon using their energy data expertise to bring great ideas into the $50,000 challenge. For more information on the Vehicle Data Challenge follow @ProjectOpenData on Twitter.

So take a look at the list of metrics above and reply if you have an interesting application to suggest.

p.s. The Programming Hackathon runs from 1 p.m. Wednesday to 9 a.m. Thursday, with breaks (if you want) for food. Then the Day 1 events start. Those events end at 6:00 p.m. At 6:15 the Geek Night Extravaganza starts, and ends at 10 p.m. People have asked if there will be time for sleep and as you can see, you've got 15 minutes between 6:00 and 6:15 p.m. Thursday.

UPDATE: Welcome, Forbes readers. Have you seen Laurent Garrigues describe the use cases for real-time cross-enterprise data exchange via the cloud?
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#2 Henlo

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 04:28 AM

This could be way more long term but I can see this being use to increase the lifespan of your tires, if you know when your tires were changed that is. We all know that swapping and rotating your tires increases the mileage you get from them and in the process lowering your personal carbon footprint, tires are 80% oil and 20% rubber (i assume). The added benefit of course is the safety issue, how many cars are on the road with worn tires, how many deaths can be attributed to this. Would be nice to get some notification (wink**wink** ), informing the driver or even the supplier that a swop/rotate or even replacement is due, just like majority cars do with service intervals.
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#3 myDorazio

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 01:17 PM

I don't think this would be at all practical but as a longtime fan of maps I would like an application that let me figure out over time what the quickest route is from A to B based on past events. Many of my repeated trips have multiple routes, and it bothers the inner-cheapskate in me that I do not know which route is quicker, has the fewest stoplights, and gets the best gas mileage. To give one example, until it closed last year Shangri-La de Old Cathay was the best budget Chinese restaurant in the Phoenix East Valley, but I could either take the freeway or drive surface streets to get there. The "shall we take the freeway?" decision grieved me each time.

So this application would track over time my speed, longitude and latitude for each "trip", defined as the start and stop of telemetry. Then it would seek out repeated trips and organize them as repeated events of the same type. For example, it might interrogate the stored data at weekly intervals to determine each time I started a trip at point A and ended the trip at point B. The application would assign that particular embarkation/destination combination with a unique identifier, but I could give this A to B trip a label like "Taking Jimmy to piano lessons" or "To Gym." The application would find other repeated embarkation/destination combinations, for example when I went from A to C ("To supermarket"), from A to D ("To Lee's apartment") or from D to B ("To Gym from Lee's"). So at the end of the month I can slice and dice through all these individual trips--let's call them "Event Frames"--and with ninja like precision determine and view the route that got me their fastest, or used the brakes the least, or got the best gas mileage.

I don't think I am alone in wanting this. A regular theme on the Seinfeld series is the oversized sense of pride city dwellers place in knowing traffic patterns, like for example what time of day to take the Van Wyck Expressway versus the Cross Island Parkway. Bill Bryson wrote about this in Notes from a Small Island:

Give two or more men in a pub the names of any two places in Britain and they can happily fill hours. Wherever it is you want to go, the consensus is generally that it's just about possible as long as you scrupulously avoid Okehampton, the North Circular in London, and the Severn Bridge westbound between the hours of 3 P.M. on Friday and 10 A.M. on Monday, except bank holidays when you shouldn't go anywhere at all.


What a market there would be for this application!
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#4 myDorazio

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 08:28 PM

An unsourced quote Steve Jobs attributed to Pablo Picasso is that "Good artists copy. Great artists steal." He invoked Picasso while explaining that "We have always been shameless in stealing great ideas." So in that spirit I offer this link to a .pdf from OpenEI.org that lists a variety of mainly analytical-oriented energy savings efforts (complete with links), ten of which involve transportation.

And if you are really scratching your head looking for inspiration, take a look at what RC hobbyists are doing with RC telemetry here (cars), here (airplanes), and here (where you will find a cornucopia of RC telemetry related articles in which I could not detect anything of interest to us, but maybe you can).
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#5 myDorazio

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 04:22 PM

Here are more links to topics related to OpenXC data and monitoring vehicles. Click here for OpenEI Energy Hackathon Resources, including lots about OpenXC data. It includes a link to their vehicle data FAQ, which is operated like a forum and where you can register to post comments. It includes such threads as "Why should I care what data is in my car and what can be done with this data (examples)?"
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#6 myDorazio

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 06:44 AM

Here's a picture Stuart Collins took of the data from the Ford Mustang as it appeared on the laptop computer that served as the PI System interface node sending data to the PI Server.

vCampusLive2012b.jpg
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#7 myDorazio

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 10:40 AM

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced a prized competition, the Apps for Vehicles Challenge, which is offering a total of "$50,000 in prizes for the best business plans and products that can improve safety and fuel efficiency through technology innovation." Note the phrase "business plans" because Ian Kalin, Presidential Innovation Fellow, told us that they are evaluating and awarding prizes for business plans as well as programming projects. So this is not only for development teams. A good idea well explained will be considered in the competition.

Click here to read more information and for a link to how to join the competition. Web site Green Car Congress describes here the criteria for judging and list of industry guest judges, which includes OSIsoft founder and CEO Dr. J. Patrick Kennedy. Submissions are due January 15th, 2013.
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#8 myDorazio

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 05:45 PM

Here is an update with the Hackathon winners. We think the event was a huge success. Most of the teams completed their applications and presented them to a panel of judges within 18 hours. Each team consisted of 5 members of thought leaders and developers assembled at the Hackathon.

The Hackathon was in support of the Department of Energy’s initiative to liberate customer automobile data to enable innovation and ultimately help drivers improve their fuel consumption and emissions. Participants used the PI System to collect the information via the OpenXC protocol, provided by Ford Research, opening it for everyone to use. In addition to several months worth of data from dozens of cars already in the PI System, a Ford Mustang was outfitted and connected to the PI System in real-time, running in an Azure Cloud. OSIsoft's Scott Robertson, who has been a driving instructor for Porsche at time trials at the major California racing tracks, drove consistent routes during the Hackathon. This was done to ensure teams had the data they needed to demonstrate the benefits of their applications. Stuart Collins of OSIsoft assisted in the Mustang by communicating via Twitter with the teams and passing on specific actions requested by the teams.

OpenXC02.jpg
OSIsoft engineers fire-up the real-time data connection between a Ford Mustang and the PI System

OpenXC03.jpg
During the 18 hour event engineers repeated a route so that developers could compare trips.

Top prize of Microsoft Surface Tablets were awarded to the team from Wipro with an application that used real-time and historical information to break down the segments of each trip and provide each with a “grade”. Actual trip segments with the highest fuel efficiency showed up on a map in green. Those with lower efficiency appeared in like yellow and the poorest appeared red. Their application took into account traffic, route and driving habits into the results for the overall “grade” and provided instant response at a glance, which could be used to modify route or behavior at any time.

OpenXC_1st_a.jpg
Team Wipro’s winning entry uses PI Event Frames to capture your trips and rate them.

Second prize of Kinect for Windows devices were awarded to the application from the Driving Miss Daisy team. The application calculated the actual cost of each trip with a supporting geographical map. It took into account the route, time of day and other factors to monetize the cost impact for each trip. The total cost of each trip was calculated and presented so that better routes, travel times and behavior could be used for later trips.

OpenXC_2nd_a.jpg
Application “Driving Miss Daisy” tracks time of day, cost, and route to help plan better driving.

The final prize was awarded to Xcelerate by Xceleration Labs. This application used a “Badge” reward approach to improve driver behavior. Associated “badges” were given for driving behaviors that were green and safe. For example driving with headlights on after dusk was awarded with a safe driver “badge”. Nearly a dozen badges were considered based on the real data being collected. Application users could compete for the highest number of badges overall or by category.

OpenXC_3rd_a.jpg
Leave the parking brake on? That will hurt your score in the game-oriented Xcelerate app.

The last two teams, made up of members from Skanska and Casne Engineering, had impressive results for the time allotted. Both focused on the idea of Geo fencing. ?RU("where are you") from the Skanska team was developed further after the Hackathon into completion and Out Of Bounds by the Casne team defined a geo fencing area with notifications for route deviation. Who wouldn’t want to know if their teenager decided to change their stated plans for the evening!

OpenXC01.jpg
The team from Skanska is doing ongoing research into a zone-based vehicle tracking system they started during the hackathon.

Our thanks to all the teams participating in the Hackathon. Participants were all able to contribute using the off-the-shelf tools augmented by the imagination and ingenuity of this learned development community. It was amazing to see what was possible in such a short amount of time!

OSIsoft is sponsoring another Hackathon at Connected World in Santa Clara this June. As we continue to add more vehicles into the system even more interesting applications will be possible.

 

UPDATE 2: FYI, here's a video showing the highlights of the Programming Hackathon and some of the apps above in motion.

 


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