Hack the car: 24hr Ford Hackathon this weekend

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In the lead up to the Australian launch of SYNC AppLink in 2014, Ford is holding a 24 hour hackathon this weekend in Melbourne. The most talented developers will break out their Objective C and Java wares to leverage the SYNC AppLink APIs. The goal here is to raise awareness of the platform and allow Aussie developers to create safer, smarter ways to interact with your smart phone features while in a vehicle.

If you think this is just a game, then think again, there’s already more than one million Ford vehicles sold globally that are equipped with SYNC AppLink. This number will continue to grow with the arrival of AppLink 2.0 to Australia in 2014. The awesome thing about AppLink 2.0 is that it gives developers the power to access hundreds of vehicle sensors and get ridiculously creative about how to utilise that data in apps.

“Hackathons help connect us not only with the latest ideas being considered by startups, but with the developer community as a whole,” said David Huang, Senior Manager, Asia Pacific, Advanced Technology & Business Development Connected Services. “By being there, and getting hands-on with these innovators, we can really find the next big app that can help drivers stay connected while keeping their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.”

Developers will no sleep for 24 consecutive hours while hacking together their AppLink solutions. There’s a lot at stake, not only fame, but a bit of fortune, with Ford putting up a $10,000 prize pool to encourage developers to play to win.  Ford will pick two winners with a cash prize for best all-new app and for best modification of an existing app. There is also a prize for best idea.

Ford has hosted similar events in China and America with the previous events seeing amazing ideas turn into apps that are now available in their markets.

While iOS and Android are supported, there is of course on strange platform omission, Windows Phone. Strange considering that Ford’s SNYC platform is built on top of Microsoft’s Windows Automotive, so you’d think they’d throw some love to C# developers. Over the last few months, Ford’s software emulator has improved, moving well past the old requirement of having physical hardware to develop on. It’s the sign of a maturing platform. We are still waiting for MyFordTouch to launch in Australia, that’s when developers can interact with the touchscreen display in selected vehicles.

I’ll be attending the event as a guest of Ford, so expect plenty more information about what our talented Aussie hackers come up with.


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This post is authored by techAU staffers. Used rarely and sparingly when the source decided to keep their identity secret, or a guest author who isn't seeking credit.

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