The hackathon InnoAirChallenge: Making urban mobility smarter was the first of a number of hackathons and competitions that Sofia Development Association will organize within the INNOAIR project.

The hackathon InnoAirChallenge: Making urban mobility smarter, organized by Sofia Development Association and A1 Bulgaria, was held online in the period 2-4 June, and gathered 24 teams from 7 cities in a race for a cause. All participants worked online on the difficult task of developing and presenting projects that outline the vision of a future generation of transport services and connectivity that work for cleaner air in Sofia.

After the official opening of the hackathon on 2 June by Sevdalina Voynova, project coordinator of INNOAIR, and Kristian Krastev, Deputy Mayor for Transport in Sofia, the participants had about 36 hours to grow their ideas. The development of the ideas was digital, and the teams had the opportunity to consult with mentors from business, academia and Sofia Municipality who work on similar issues. Among the main questions that the teams’ ideas had to answer were ways to make the public transport in Sofia more environmentally sustainable and attractive for citizens.

The Mayor of Sofia Yordanka Fandakova congratulated all participants for their hard work. "I thank all 68 participants from the bottom of my heart for participating in this very important project through the competition. Change is possible if we all participate in it together – if we argue, seek and find solutions, and support each other. The modern urban transport is important for air quality and the environment. In recent years we have been doing large-scale modernization, introducing electronic systems, video surveillance, etc. and I am glad that so many inspired, young people are developing green solutions in our city and giving ideas on how to make the public transport even more attractive to all citizens." 

The prize fund of BGN 21 000 gave an opportunity to further develop the most creative ideas in the hackathon. The winning teams, determined by a competent jury, have the opportunity to help turn Sofia into a greener and smarter city by investing their prizes in the realization of their ideas.

The projects were evaluated based on criteria for originality, applicability and technological approach in real time. The decision for the best ideas was made after a lively and intense discussions. The “Sofenhagen“ team won first place and BGN 10 000, with its project for an application that offers cycling routes and allows cyclists to give feedback on the routes. They managed to convince the jury that "their next automobile will be a bicycle".

"Participating in the Hackathon was very useful for us for several reasons. Perhaps the most important of these was the validation of our idea and its ability to solve a problem in the real world. The hackathon was also a good test for our organizational skills, because in order to present the project in such a short period of time we had to be very disciplined. We will use the award to build a fully functional application that provides users with the most convenient way to find safe cycling routes in Sofia," shared the “Sofenhagen“ team.

“Poslednite“ took the second place and received a BGN 5 000 check for their idea for an integrated system of sensors for measuring air quality, noise pollution and other indicators. “Innovaone” team from Harmanli came in third, winning BGN 3 000 for their project for air quality sensor system using machine learning platform for analysis and forecasting of pollution based on previous data.

The prizes for the first three teams were provided by A1 Bulgaria. In addition, Mastercard provided a special prize of BGN 3 000 for the “Asembria” team, which presented a mobile application that makes it easier for blind citizens to use public transport.

Sofia Development Association provided a special prize of BGN 1 000 for the “KiNation” team from Burgas, which presented a project for an external device for bus stops that purifies the air and monitors pollutants.

A special award was also given by Sofia Urban Mobility Center, who awarded the “ITG“ team, which developed a system for counting passengers through cameras installed inside the vehicles. The four participants received free semester passes for the entire city network of public transport.

The competitive ideas varied and ranged from replacement of the controllers’ devices with a mobile phone, through a shared parking system in private parking lots, to a hub project - solar transport stop, which integrates classic and public transport and information, as well as terminals for food deliveries, bill payments and fitness equipment.

The hackathon InnoAirChallenge: Making urban mobility smarter was the first of a number of hackathons and competitions that Sofia Development Association will organize within the INNOAIR project. The competition gathered many meaningful ideas that are to be realized. You can see their public presentation in the recordings of the live broadcast on the Facebook page of INNOAIR.