Road Genius

  • Road Genius at CodeFEST

Road Genius

Road Genius is a location-based quiz app for children with age-appropriate questions. We initially developed the idea at the Volkswagen CodeFEST and won the preliminaries at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology as well as the finals at the CeBIT in Hannover. Afterwards we presented Road Genius at Volkswagen’s IT Symposium in front of then CEO Prof. Martin Winterkorn and the complete upper management of Volkswagen. We also presented the app at Porsche in Zuffenhausen, Germany. Since the initial hackathon, we’ve developed the protoype into a fully functional app. As of now, it contains more than 6000 questions for different cities in Germany. Furthermore, a plan was developed to roll out the app and include questions for all over Germany. We’re now in talks with VW to get an initial funding and thus be able to support development and bring the app to the market as a branded version.

Hackathon at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Road Genius was developed during the Volkswagen CodeFEST^8 hackathon. The hackathon took place in eight cities throughout Europe. I started with three other students (we did not know each other beforehand) and had only 28 hours to develop our idea “Road Genius” (a location-based quiz-app for kids with age- and gender-specific questions). We won the first round at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and thus had the ability to participate in the finals.

CodeFEST^8 finals at CeBIT in Hannover

At CeBIT, world’s largest computer expo, we had to pitch Road Genius in front of a large crowd including VW officials. While my teammate Marcel did an awesome presentation, I had to do the actual pitch. In the end, we won the finals and received a check as well as a course at the VW Driving Experience. The press coverage following our victory was enormous. Several big magazines covered the event as well as our story. Among them:

Knowing that long car journeys can be tiresome and exhausting with children in the back seat, a group of students has developed an app that is fun for kids, keeps them busy, and even teaches them something. The basic principle of their “Road Genius” is to ask the potentially whining little back seat passengers quiz questions about the surroundings and landscapes through which the car passes. Four students, two of them from KIT, programmed the app in 28 hours T, winning “codeFEST8”, a Volkswagen programming competition in which teams from eight cities participated. This is how Road Genius works: After login, the child enters his/her age and gender which, apart from the driving route, is taken into account in selecting questions. The app then asks the child specific questions about rivers, sights, or cities. To answer these, the child is required to look out of the window and actively observe the surroundings. Even though one of the four students is visually handicapped, all members of the group have been complementing one another equally. Winning the “codeFEST8” at CeBIT has provided the four students with seed capital of 10,000 euros and will give them the opportunity to further enhance their ingenious invention.

IT Symposium at Volkswagen in Wolfsburg

After winning the hackathon at CeBIT we went to the headquaters of the Volkswagen AG to Wolfsburg, Germany and presented our idea in front of Prof. Dr. Winterkorn the upper management of the Volkswagen Group. It was a great honor to speak in front of these people as it shows that they acknowledge fresh ideas and the underlying potential. We also had interesting discussions with the people at the Symposium and met our hackathon mentors from Volkswagen again.

Pitch and Workshop at Porsche in Zuffenhausen

Porsche, being part of the Volkswagen corporation, also invited us to pitch our app in front of leadning engineers and IT management. We also had an interesting workshop that included ideas to cooperate with Porsche and new ways to develop the app further.

Technical details

The stack for Road Genius is comprised of an app built with Ionic Framework as a front-end, a backend consisting of a Laravel application in PHP and a PostGIS-extended Postgres database. My responsibilities are the backend and the database. I’ve also written a few algorithms that derive questions from publicly available geospatial information. This includes questions as “What’s the nearest city?” and “What’s the name of the city you’re currently in?”. Another responsibility of mine was the web presence, which was already online at the hackathon’s preliminaries.

  • Date November 15, 2015
  • Tags Web Development
  • URL View Project