Car Data Hacking at the IAA 2019

, Alexander Goedde

Continental ran a hackathon at the IAA/Frankfurt Motor Show 2019 for car data monetization applications, based on Crossbar.io and the XBR technology stack.

Representing at the German Motor Show

The IAA/Frankfurt Motor Show is one of the central events in the automotive calendar with everybody out to present themselves at their best. Continental, one of the largest automotive suppliers in the world, held a couple of 2-day hackathons as an important part of their presentation - using Crossbar.io's technology.

Participants were tasked with developing and presenting a prototype automotive application that used car data - based on Crossbar.io as the connectivity layer, and using Crossbar.io's XBR technology stack for the data trading. Tobias and I were present throughout the four days to provide assistance to the teams.

photo of hackspace with instructions being given to the participants
The participants are listening

From Technology to Ideas

Across the two days of each hackathon, around 20 participants in 4 teams had to complete a set of technical tasks which familiarized them with the technology, and then use this knowledge in creating their prototype application. Aim was to convince a jury of three business executives from Continental and Hewlett Packard Enterprise of the viability of their idea.

With the XBR technology stack in addition to Crossbar.io, the technical tasks were challenging, but the high level of qualification of participants resulted in almost all teams clearing the hurdles.

photo of a hack team working
The participants are hacking

Good Ideas - And One Great Presentation

Having a good idea was a central part of the hackathon, and the teams delivered concepts with real-world applications. Based on personas provided by Continental, the apps included

  • delivery of pre-ordered grocery shopping to neighbors,
  • monitoring of ecological driving habits with gamification across circles of friends, and
  • a crowd-orking take on valet parking at airports.

As is usual at a hackathon, it was amazing to see how much could be created in less than two work days (since the trade show closes down for the night, hacking actually stopped in the evening). The winning team in the first batch completely knocked it out of the park with a professionally designed presentation and demo which managed to involve both of the displays in the hackspace - one showing a live Android app UI sent wirelessly.

photo of a hack team giving a presentation
The participants are presenting

Also, as usual, things were over too quickly - though I was exhausted after fixing some issues with the hackathon scoring and visualization app during the first two days, in parallel to answering participants' questions. With most things in the hackathon being cutting edge, it was not only the teams who were hackting throughout, but also the organizers.

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