Audi Hackathon: 30 intense hours for sustainable mobility concepts

30 hours, 25 participants, and one question: how can sustainable mobility in cities become a reality? During the first Audi Remote Hackathon, experts worked on programming pioneering concepts. Read here what happens when the pros join forces with one another.

05/18/2020 Reading Time: 4 min

Sunday, May 10, 2020, 7:01 p.m. It is absolutely quiet. Not even a single sound can be heard across the remote connection. All the participants have muted themselves. Pale light from the monitors flickers across their tense faces. In just a few moments, the seven-member jury will announce their decision. Torturous moments. Will the connection hold up?

Then, it’s time. The winner is announced: the team with the “10MinuteMap” concept has been awarded first place. The app shows users where they can find local points of interests such as businesses or cafes within a ten-minute radius of their location and how they can get there as sustainably as possible. It combines transportation with local businesses, with experiences, and with discovery. It makes it clear just how easy sustainable mobility in the city can be. That convinces the jury.

 

Hackathon = hacking + marathon for sustainable mobility

They won’t have much time – from the opening speech to the final presentations to the jury the next day, only 30 hours have been allotted. Time in which the participants will gather, sort, evaluate, and develop digital prototypes for ideas about sustainable, urban mobility. The clock is ticking. Every second counts until a concept takes shape, both on the drafting board and in the programmers’ minds — until the prototype is mature enough to be presented to the jury.

Malte Schönfeld

“Agile development of good ideas at an insane pace: that’s what makes a hackathon so exciting,”

explains Malte Schönfeld. The Venture Development Manager at Audi Denkwerkstatt supports the participants during the hackathon, both in terms of content and technical advice. He pops into the different sessions from time to time, offering feedback and answering questions. He is delighted to see how quickly the teams have coalesced. After all, most of the participants didn’t know each other until now. The organizers mixed the participants up, assigning them to one of five interdisciplinary teams of five members each based on their skill set.

“They all delivered sustainable mobility concepts that are so good that they could theoretically be implemented tomorrow,” emphasizes Malte Schönfeld.

A wide range of concepts for the mobility of the future

On Sunday, we see how good the concepts really are: the presentations start at 5 p.m. Each team has exactly 20 minutes to convince the jury. The ideas range from suggestions for Audi e-tron distribution to a platform that brings all worldwide providers of sustainable mobility together.

The app “Gohalfway” shows friends the perfect spot to meet — and the most sustainable way to get there. Another concept deals with shared mobility fleets in which the cars are exchanged seamlessly, which makes searching for a parking spot unnecessary.

Sustainable mobility concepts only work together

  

zieht Matthias Brendel

“The hackathon showed how we can create new ideas in an unbelievably short time when we bring together different points of views. We need to think sustainably, ecologically, economically, and socially,”

Matthias Brendel, Head of Audi Denkwerkstatt, sums things up enthusiastically.

At the end, the participants all raise their hands and wiggle their fingers: they are sending a digital round of applause across the screen. It’s the moment where everyone senses it: this weekend, they’ve all won — because they designed the future together.

Get more insights into the first Audi Remote Hackathon in the video:

“Mobility needs to become an experience”

With their app “10MinuteMap,” they convinced the jury of the first Audi Remote Hackathon. After the event, we spoke with Tim Hautkappe and Jonas Nietschke from the winning team about the sustainable mobility of the future.

Why did you participate in this hackathon on the topic of sustainable mobility?
Jonas:
What excited us about the hackathon by the Audi Denkwerkstatt was combining an idea with a digital prototype and a business model that has social relevance, and doing that in an incredibly short time. The climate determines our living conditions. That’s why we need to address the topic of sustainable mobility in cities and rethink mobility. That’s the only way to keep our planet healthy for the next generation.

How was it for you to work remotely in a team?
Tim:
A real challenge (laughs). It wasn’t that easy to come together as a team over the screen — especially since we didn’t know each other before. With video chat, everything is delayed and communication is indirect. The distance makes it difficult to interact with each other. That made the peak moment even better — when, after a few hours of discussion, our ideas have coalesced into a concrete solution — and our group had become a real team.

Why was your result in particular the one to win the jury over?
Tim:
Our app shows how easy sustainable mobility in the city can be, and it solves one of the conflicts of our generation: we all have too little time, but far too many options. “10MinuteMap” shows you options that are only 10 minutes away from you. It makes it possible for users to make sustainable decisions very quickly. This supports local businesses and encourages sustainable mobility. And it shows how much can be reached in only ten minutes — in the truest sense of the word.

Let’s take a look into the crystal ball: what do you think sustainable, urban mobility will look like in 50 years?
Jonas:
The challenge in the future will be to organize mass mobility in major cities as intelligently and sustainably as possible. So people can use their time wisely instead of spending three hours in traffic on their way to work like they do today. Mobility needs to become an experience. That could be made possible with transportation that is seamlessly coordinated and that makes transportation something we enjoy.

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