Fast-tracking smart city solutions using hackathons

One team was chosen during the Junction hackathon event that was held from 23rd to 25th of November 2018 in Espoo (Finland) to collaborate with the STARDUST partners in Tampere

Technology is fast evolving and STARDUST’s Lighthouse city of Tampere eyes on adapting new methods that use data for its citizens’ advantage. Lately, hackathons are on the rise as these are grounded on co-creation – a principle cultivated heavily within the STARDUST project.

Last November 2018, the city of Tampere played a big role for this year’s Junction – one of Europe’s largest hackathon event – as its strategic development programme, Smart Tampere, proposed two challenges that were accepted for tech-minded people to work on. About 1300 participants were invited to solve intriguing challenges in society for three days in Espoo under the mentorship of numerous technical experts. At the end of the event, three teams were chosen to work closely with Smart Tampere’s projects including STARDUST.

The challenge in which Tampere’s STARDUST team worked on was called, “Smart Traffic – From Predictions to Real-Time”. It is a collaboration effort set up together with other projects from Tampere (6Aika: City IoT and 6Aika: Ecosystem of Guidance). The goal is to come up with a smart mobility solution using real-time data. The team chosen to collaborate with STARDUST is Virtaus.

The team’s concept is to build an on-demand Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) application that makes public transport personalised and convenient. The transport system will be dynamic and user-oriented as it will provide optimize public bus routes for commuters and create a bus pooling system in which buses will not rely on pre-defined routes but on a case-by-case demand.

Virtaus together with the judges including Maarit Vehviläinen from Smart Tampere

The other two winners that will be operating with the city of Tampere’s 6Aika projects are ParkMate and TrePark Live Team. Team ParkMate will address the Smart Traffic by providing an image recognition system that will help users identify free parking spaces in a map view. Meanwhile, team TrePark Live will provide a cost-effective solution for the “Towards New Generation of Guidance” challenge and guide the elderly to park their vehicles using movable sensors.

Given the outcome of the recent hackathon challenge, the STARDUST team in Tampere is looking forward to bringing new ideas to automatizing the traffic in the city. These solutions will undergo a public private procurement process in which pilot tests are foreseen to take place in the city at a not-so-distant future. This goes to show that novelty behind smart city solutions can spur at a much faster rate given the city’s support for hackathons’ collaborative nature.