DOE Announces Apps For Vehicles Challenge Winners

Thanks to all of our “smart technology” there exists a never ending stream of data quantifying our every decision. But data is only useful if you can use it in some practical way. During its 2012, “Datapalooza“, the Department of Energy announced the Apps for Vehicles Challenge, a competition that seeks to spur innovations that use vehicle-generated open data.

The competition asked app developers and entrepreneurs to demonstrate how the open data available on most vehicles can be used to improve vehicle safety, fuel efficiency and comfort. Just this week, the DOE announced that it had chosen winners across several categories, earning the lucky development teams a tidy prize. The best part! They’re all available for public download, and most are free!

apps for vehicles challenge

Image via DOE

Nearly 40 entries were submitted for the first phase of the Apps for Vehicles competition, and seven were selected as finalists to advance to the second stage. These finalists also received guidance on their business plans and early stage prototypes from the industry experts, including Google, Connected World Magazine, Greenstart, OSISoft, CleanWeb and SAE International as well as the Departments of Energy and Transportation and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Specialized technical support was provided in the form of sample data creation by Ford Motor Company’s “OpenXC Platform” and Moj.io, a startup company focused on utilizing vehicle data and connecting cars.

And the winners are…

Grand Prize/Judges’ Pick: DASH

DASH is a mobile utility plus hardware, like Nest or FitBit. Compatible with all US cars made after 1996,  it provides real time diagnostics/alerts and historical data viz, enabling the driver to maximise MPG, improve engine performance, gives tips/insights on carbon emissions and offset tools, as well as how to reduce running costs on gas, maintenance and insurance (along the Mint.com marketplace model). Available for iPhone and Android. Free.

Grand Prize/Popular Choice: MyCarma

MyCarma logs your personal drive cycle using an app on your smartphone. After 7 days the drive cycle is fed into software models of the three new vehicles you are most interested in. At that point the MyCarma servers simulate those vehicles on your drive cycle (kind of like those vehicles were driven behind you for the week you had the app logging) and estimates your personal fuel economy on those vehicles. The associated fuel savings are calculated for your specific drive cycle. Available for Android. Blackberry and iPhone versions to be announced. Free. 

See honorable mentions and all submissions at vehicles.challenge.gov

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