Ford Europe has selected three promising new transit-focused apps to back with €10,000 (about $11,800 US) each, in the hopes of furthering the development of a new generation of mobile software that could make commuting more convenient and enjoyable. The cash-winning apps were discovered through Ford’s Make It Driveable AppLink challenge, and all three are compatible with Ford’s SYNC infotainment through the automaker’s AppLink connectivity system.
One of the winning apps, which comes from a French startup called “Zify”, connects like-minded drivers and passengers for ride-sharing based on their respective locations and routes. Drivers using the app stand to pick up some extra cash by driving passengers from Point A to Point B, and because the app matches users based on common interests, it could even help create new friendships.
Another of the winning apps, named “Acast”, offers podcast streams to drivers based on their interests, commute, and the time of day. The third, dubbed “RouteValet”, helps users plan multi-modal commutes with a mix of private and public transportation options.
The winning apps were selected from a shortlist of 20 ideas, pulled together from a pool of more than 70 applicants, receiving executive mentorship and testing with real Ford customers. In addition to their prize money, the developers of all three winning apps have been awarded the chance to work with Ford to further develop their software.
“For the smart cities of tomorrow we need smarter vehicles,” says Ford Europe Manager of Connected Vehicle and Services Abraham Philip. “These three winning apps could each play a role in simplifying our future commutes, making them more enjoyable and even enabling drivers to generate an income from journeys they would be making anyway.”