Many of you will be aware of our recent collaboration with Mercedes-Benz, Deloitte and BeMyApp for the Mercedes-Benz Digital Challenge, the first contest of its kind to bring together software developers from around the world to build apps using car APIs for a connected car. With over 2000 interested registrants to the competition, almost 500 projects created, just under 100 submissions and over 135,000 API requests (indicating extremely high engagement from developers involved), we were thrilled to witness the passion and enthusiasm stirred up by the Challenge in the global developer community.
Moving away from the more traditional offline hackathon, the online approach of the Mercedes-Benz Digital Challenge was made possible through the use of HIGH MOBILITY’s virtual car — a sophisticated car emulator that enables developers to test out their apps in a true-to-life environment without the need for a real vehicle. By opening up the contest to developers from all over the world we saw applications from every single continent, a spectacular example of international collaboration, innovation and competition.
In essence, the Challenge was a chance for individuals and teams to build a new mobility and connectivity experience. The judges were looking for new and innovative use cases — app or otherwise — using the car emulator, mock APIs, and SDKs. What we found to be particularly impressive was the diversity of the applications we received with Android, iPhone, web apps and even chatbots submitted by the entrants.
With up to €30k in cash prizes shared between the 15 finalists plus the opportunity to showcase their projects to automobile giants Mercedes-Benz up for grabs, developers took the chance to flex their app-building muscles and build apps and services ready to impress the car industry’s biggest movers and shakers.
The awards ceremony for the Challenge on Friday 20th October 2017 marked the end of what’s been an exhilarating journey, and we’ve been truly awestruck by the innovation and dedication we’ve seen from the developers who took part.
We’d like to offer our congratulations to the top three finalists, who were, as follows:
First prize of €15,000 cash and an invitation to the WebSummit to present alongside Mercedes-Benz, was awarded to: Safe Drive, a smart e-call service.
Second prize of €6,000 was awarded to: KarMa, a holistic car companion app.
Third prize of €3,000 was awarded to: Virtuo, a mobile-only car rental solution.
Great work everybody!
More details of the projects are further down this post.
After viewing hundreds of entries and picking their top teams, Risto Vahtra and Kevin Valdek, co-founders of HIGH MOBILITY, were invited to take part in the official awards ceremony on Friday 20th October at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany. It was the first time that HIGH MOBILITY had the chance to meet face-to-face with the teams behind the apps who made it through to this final round and to congratulate them on their hard work. We were truly honored to have played a part in this project.
After thought-provoking speeches, “From Product to Platform” by Dr Klaudia Hergula, Head of Digital Transformation Office at MBC and “Becoming A Platform-Driven Organisation” by Sabine Scheunert, Vice President Digital & IT MBC Marketing & Sales, the winning projects were announced by Wilko A. Stark, Vice President of Daimler Strategy, MBC Product, Strategy and Planning to the audience of car enthusiasts and car makers. Stark congratulated the winning teams and presented them with their awards and prizes.
The top fifteen teams were invited along to the awards ceremony on Friday. These fifteen projects were: Butler, CarBot, CarWallet, DiscoQueen, Drivegether, Healthedes, Home of the Star, LaMetric, Mercedes Majestics, OurCars, Project Light, SEARLY.
The top 3 finalists in the Challenge, as announced on Friday, were:
Team name: SafeDrive
Project description: a smart e-call service
They say: “While other systems focus on either fatigue or accidents, we widen the scope of our application, including more factors, to handle driver impairment and sickness, in general, providing an answer also for strokes or heart attacks by mixing the monitoring of accident detection, driver fatigue, driver’s heart rate, and ability to answer.”
Team name: KarMa
Project description: a holistic car companion app
They say: “Let me introduce KarMa, an Android application designed using Mercedes Benz APIs, to provide a centralized platform which users can rely upon for all their car needs.”
Team name: Virtuo
Project description: a mobile-only car rental solution
They say: “Use technology to enhance car rental customer experience.”
Contestant Tools and Resources
By far the most important of all the tools available to those taking part in the Challenge was the virtual Mercedes-Benz E-Class emulator, launched in the HIGH MOBILITY Developer Center. This interactive virtual car was used by the teams to test out their applications as they prototyped their ideas.
Many sought help and advice in the discussion forum, where Mercedes-Benz engineers, digital experts from Deloitte, HIGH MOBILITY experts and BeMyApp moderators assisted teams and individuals by answering questions and offering advice. Discussions between developers both technical and theoretical also took place here, and it became a great resource in its own right.
The HIGH MOBILITY team presented a number of in-depth webinars covering how to use the site, the APIs and the emulator as well as tutorials on developing for Android or iOS.
We’d like to thank everybody who took part in the Challenge for their hard work, dedication and innovation. We’d also like to thank Mercedes-Benz, Deloitte and BeMyApp for their collaboration, hard work and professionalism: we loved working with you all. Make sure you don’t forget to sign up to the Mercedes-Benz Developer Platform where you can take advantage of Mercedes–Benz data and functionalities for use in your own innovative projects.
If you didn’t take part this time, don’t worry, this wasn’t your last chance! We’ll be keeping you updated on all the upcoming challenges and competitions we have in the pipeline. Stay tuned and, until then, happy building.