What’s the future of the automotive industry?

This weekend, Startup Victoria and GUD hosted Melbourne’s automotive hackathon, looking at the big challenges in the industry

In less than 3 days, 7 teams came together to come up with innovative ideas around the automotive industry. The challenges presented at this hackathon included making dumb cars smart, how to change the service and repair market, how can you disrupt the industry and leverage technology, and what can you do to innovate around electric vehicles?

It’s a great broad range of topics. We kicked off the Friday night and asked who had been to a hackathon before. Surprisingly, more than half the people in the room were first-timers! Very exciting. I’m always astounded by the number of first-hackathon goers, considering the sheer number of hackathons run in Melbourne alone every single year. Nonetheless, there seems to be plenty of people who are yet to be involved in these fun, creative, and life-changing events.

Sid getting ready to open the GUDhackathon!

As with many hackathons, it’s good to set the scene and tone for the weekend. Amy from GUD spoke about why they wanted to run a hackathon, plus some staggering statics. Steve then jumped up to give us a run down on the industry itself, calling out all the aspects in “danger” of dying.

Amy stats.PNG
Some fantastic stats from Amy to get us thinking about the importance of innovation. (Photo Credit: Alan Dee)

With these in mind, participants formed up teams and started hacking through problems. There was a wave of emotions as some teams ripped up idea after another and focused on something completely different. Sticky notes started growing around the room on the Saturday morning as solutions became more refined. Mentors had a tough job too – bouncing from team to team to give their industry experience.

Sticky notes aplenty while mentors sit with teams to discuss their ideas

But in the end everyone got there! All seven teams presented their ideas to the judges. I was very impressed with the range of scope of ideas. Everything from “we combined Uber with GoGet” to “it’s basically AWS on wheels”. We had some teams focus solely on numbers, giving us a breakdown of how much it’s going to cost, while others gave us live demos of their facial recognition software in action.

Overall it was an amazing event. True Cow took home the top prize for their innovative approach to buying cars, whilst Future Edge won the hearts of the people with their mobile cloud computing idea.

Team True Cow wins for their innovative approach that gives you the “true cost of owning wheels”

It was fantastic to see teams work together, and the higher-ups were impressed too. Some of the top people from GUD came for a taste of their first hackathon. Guy, who dropped in for the pitches, wrote this awesome summary of what a hackathon is from his perspective:

“Here’s my Gen X summary: a gathering of smart millennials who are split into groups and challenged to come up with ideas and solve problems for given topics. To help fuel them there’s a mix lollies, coffee and beer (which generation doesn’t love beer?). Then of course is the environment: Inner city, must consist of exposed brick walls, no ceiling with drain pipes, ping pong table a non negotiable! All this culminated in a short pitch by each team, the winners getting a cash reward, everyone then celebrates with more beer and pizza!”

I think that’s a very good summary. Add in help from mentors and talks from people in the industry, and Guy’s summary is pretty much spot on! Hopefully more people are excited about running hackathons now.

Well that’s all from me this time around. It was another great hack weekend. Huge thanks to Startup Victoria and GUD for putting it on, as well as the Creative Cubes for the fun and exciting space to hack in. I’m looking forward to the next hackathon, and if you’re keen to head to some hackathons too, don’t forget to check out when all the hacks are on.

Awesome bunch of people!

Also published at WinningFormula.io

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