Imagine Cup 2013 Project: Take Your Ride with Windows Phone 8


Picture 1The DataArt intern team took part in the Russian Imagine Cup 2013 Final held in Moscow. Their beta application, RideTracker for Windows Phone 8, which combines the functionality of a car camera and navigator, has every chance to appear on the Marketplace. As the RideTrackerTeam coordinator, I proudly present to you this product.

The main idea of the application was to combine all devices used by car drivers in one smartphone application on the Windows Phone 8 platform. As you can see in Picture 1, the combination of car camera with recording, navigation, and message services provides a full overview of the on-road situation.

Under the dashboard

For those who are interested in the technical features of RideTracker I will give some explanations.

We developed the app using Visual Studio 12 and used TFS Сloud service as the version control system. On the client side the phone UI was designed using the MVVM design pattern and WCF was used for communication with the backend (registration, user authentication, and geolocation). Also, the application uses maps, speech synthesis, speech recognition, video APIs, and sensors (compass, accelerometer and GPS).

By time of the contest, RideTracker had the following features implemented:

  • Navigator (Nokia Maps API),
  • CarCam (Camera API) with using the forward camera of a driver's smartphone,
  • Voice control (Speech API),
  • Fellow traveler service (WCF, SQL Server)
  • Wireless HTTP-server called RideStorage.

Picture 2RideStorage (Picture 2) receives the video recorded by the CarCam and stores it to a USB flash drive. It has a microcontroller based on the .NET Micro Framework, a Wi-Fi transceiver inside, and two USB-connectors on the side. The requirement for RideStorage stems from the fact that Windows Phone 8 doesn’t write data to the SD-card and has no ability to record video to a cellphone’s memory. The video can also be uploaded to a cloud server (SkyDrive). RideStorage is a unique device created by the RideTrackerTeam for this project, but could be used for other purposes.

User benefits

For a user the application looks very simple: an intuitive user interface and design matches the platform Windows Phone 8 design.

RideTracker displays routes using WindowsPhone8 maps, while the forward cellphone camera shows the road and the app sends the recorded video to RideStorage (Picture 3). The appropriate map application is already built-into every cellphone with Windows Phone 8 OS.

The social features include the ability to exchange messages with fellow users of the service.

  • Travel service: users register as drivers or pedestrians. The movement of logged-drivers is reflected on the global map. Pedestrians can contact drivers that are going their way to give them a ride.
  • Message exchange between drivers is especially important in convoys, when a group of cars can be stretched out over several kilometers.

Picture 3Despite the fact that our DataArt team didn’t take first place at the Russian Imagine Cup Final, we are considering continuing our work on RideTracker because of its huge potential and opportunities for improvement.

We hope you'll soon join our ride with your Windows Phone 8 cellphone.

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