MIT & OnStar Collaborate To Create Ride-Sharing App

Sharing is caring. It’s a phrase many of us have uttered, but far fewer have been courageous enough to live by the principle behind it. With the recent rise of collaborative consumption, a new economy of sharing has peeked its head over the horizon, showing millions of people that buying isn’t the answer to everything.

Studies have shown that young people are more apt to embrace this low-impact style of living, content to gain access to the things they need through new technologies rather than wasting time and money on ownership. Students at MIT recently won themselves a $10,000 prize for creating an app that makes it easier to share a ride. Carma, the winning entry into OnStar’s second Student Developer Challenge, lets the driver of an OnStar-equipped vehicle accept ride sharing requests from those without their own set of wheels.

carma-onstar-ridesharing-app

Image via GM/OnStar

The OnStar competition challenged MIT’s best and brightest young developers to create the next cool voice-based app. The final submissions were reviewed by a panel of executives that judged each of the entries on responsible connectivity, informed driving and location-based data. Vineet Gopal, Joshua Ma and Max Kolysh’s idea for Carma won the judges over, and earned the trio the $10,00 OnStar Student Developer Dream package.

Carma OnStar App

Image via GM/OnStar

Carma allows drivers to connect with those in need of a ride through a website where they can share their routes in hopes finding someone to ride along. Those without transportation are able to submit ride requests that an OnStar driver can accept or decline.  “By leveraging both the data and the interface provided by the OnStar platform, our small application takes a very large step towards solving a real social and environmental problem,” said Max Kolysh, one of three students on the winning team. “The communities that use the app are taking a step to reduce the social and environmental impact of automobiles.”

Got a great idea for an app that would be perfect for the OnStar platform? Later this year, the brand will launch a platform for third-party developers to access its API.

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog