'Green Initiative' by Indian students wins RTA Hackathon
The RTA hackathon winners with the officials.
Dubai - They won the top prize of Dh20,000 plus the right to represent the UAE at the World Hackathon.
A smart app that uses Augmented Reality (AR) to encourage people to use public transport won first place at the second Y4PT (Youth for Public Transport) Hackathon organised by Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) on Thursday.
The team composed of Indian expat students Bilal Shabandri, Kevin Martin, Saugaat Al Abadi and Shaurya Sood created 'Na'eem Service' during the three-day hackathon which started on Tuesday.
They bested seven other teams, composed of four to five students coming from 12 universities across the UAE, and won the top prize of Dh20,000 plus the right to represent the UAE at the World Hackathon, happening during the MENA UITP (International Association of Public Transport) Congress and Exhibition in Dubai from April 23-25 this year.
Speaking to Khaleej Times, 20-year-old Shabandri, cloud developer and electronics and communication engineering student at Amity University, said: "We named our app Na'eem, which can be loosely translated as 'green initiative'. Our main objective is to encourage the people to use public transport by making it more fun.
"With our app and using AR, commuters can point their smartphones at certain Metro or public bus stations and sensors will bring green scenery on their screens. The functionality will also allow app users to see the visuals which can be collected as green points and converted into credits to their NoL cards," he added.
"We are engaging our community to become more environment-friendly," Shabandri underlined.
"For the upcoming World Hackathon, we are planning of adding more features to our proposed app such as augmented retail," he added.
Na'eem will be considered in the RTA's next innovation cycle, Dr Yousef Al Ali, CEO of Dubai Taxi Corporation and chairman of RTA's Y4PT, told Khaleej Times.
"We will study all the winning ideas, check their feasibility and develop the process to deliver smooth transportation for all," he added.
"The ideas presented this year have improved compared to last year. The Hackathon is one of RTA's initiatives intended to develop high-quality strategies to induce various community segments to use public transport means instead of private automobiles," he explained.
Coming in second place with Dh10,000 cash prize at the Y4PT is the Eco-Traveller idea by American University in Dubai students Ali Yaqoob, Ahmad Mehravaran, Mostafa Elsayed and Fares Najm. They came up with a carbon footprint calculator.
Finishing third is the Tareeqi (My Way) app created by Emirati Abdul Rahman Al Maflehi, a public health administration student at Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University, and computer science students Bisher Zumot, Mohd Nawaz Hussain and Mansour Akbari. Tareeqi is an app to help People of Determination use public transport with via sign language and voice recognition. The team brought home Dh5,000 cash prize.