An app helps taxi drivers to find you
Have you ever been stuck in a long queue outside a bar, club or venue waiting for a taxi to arrive, wishing the company would send more cars? A new EU-funded tool has helped develop an app to make that scenario a thing of the past! With the Smartaxi app, taxi drivers collect and pool information on the "hot spots" for pick ups, meaning you spend less time waiting for one to arrive.
Smartaxi has been developed thanks to an EU-funded toolbox called FIWARE. It is already used by some 400 taxi drivers in Barcelona and Moscow, showing that new technology and innovation is helping their businesses, and improving the services to customers.
And the more drivers use the system, the better. "The app is based on collective intelligence", explains Smartaxi CEO Federico López."Smartaxi takes that information and - combined with its technological intelligence - can forecast where to find areas with the most demand. The heat map in the application shows in a quick glance what areas are best at that precise moment."
The app is available in Moscow and Barcelona, with tests soon to take place in Madrid.
Marco, a Barcelona-based taxi driver who took part in the pilot testing said: "I was new in Barcelona, the app really helped me to get to know the city. Statistics provided are also very helpful, I do not need to stop and write everything in a notebook anymore".
Since downloading Smartaxi, when a customer enters his taxi, Marco opens the app on his tablet and taps on the Start button. When the customer arrives at their destination he taps on the Finish button. It's that simple.
Smartaxi’s creators used building blocks provided by FIWARE (@FIWARE), an innovative, open cloud-based infrastructure to create new apps and services. "FIWARE offers a catalogue of generic enablers. We have found the perfect solution to deal with big data, Cosmos. It really helped us to develop our application in an easy and very quick way", explains Román Ortin, a member of the Smartaxi team (see his blog post including a video on how Smartaxi used FIWARE).
Vice-President of the European Commission @NeelieKroesEU, responsible for the Digital Agenda, says: "Many apps have already been built using the tools of FIWARE – from warning about earthquakes to preventing food waste. I am proud that Smartaxi is one of them. Europe should be open to innovation and new services – they can ease the life of taxi users as well as taxi drivers."
€80 million for entrepreneurs' best ideas
Even more innovative services and apps are on the horizon. €80 million of EU money will be available for around 1300 small businesses and web entrepreneurs using FIWARE tools. They will be awarded via 16 accelerators from all over Europe.
Smartaxi is free during the first month, and then there is a fee of €30 per month for the taxi driver. Subscription can also be paid by local authorities interested in cutting traffic congestion and emissions in their cities.
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