Toyota Connected's First Global Mobility Hackathon

by Brian Kursar - CTO

For this inaugural event members from Toyota Connected North America, Japan, Europe, and India were invited along with members from Toyota Motor North America Connected Technologies, Mobility, and Toyota Insurance Management Solutions to compete in a two-day, 36 hour Connected Mobility Hackathon.

Challenges were given in two core categories.

The "3S" category which focused around Safety, Security, Social Good and the Mobility and Convenience category which focused on building out Mobility and Convenience experiences of the future.

120 participants formed 19 teams globally across different Toyota companies.

The teams met at 8am on Thursday morning and spent the next 32 hours building their ideas to solve problems using connected technologies. The event was kicked off our COO and EVP Steve Basra and myself.

Day 1

The teams converged to TMNA Headquarters to begin refining their ideas, whiteboarding, and coding.

During the event, our amazing event staff provided food, technical support, and activities to ensure that the teams were able to get out of their chairs and clear their heads.

Throughout the night the teams were treated with pizza, cupcakes, exclusive video messages from top Toyota executives, nerf gun fights, and a surreal special visit from what some claim to be “Buddy the Elf”.

Day 2

Working through the long and surreal night, the teams continued coding and refining their ideas. We had two surprise visits from TMNA CEO Jim Lentz and TMNA Chief Administrative Officer, Manufacturing & Corporate Resources, Chris Reynolds who were able to stop by a few of the teams tables.

At hour 32, Steve, myself, Zack, Charan, and Stephen Fuks of Product Safety and Planning began reviewing each and every one of the teams projects to select the top 6 entries. With so many amazing entries, it was one of the hardest things we ever had to do.

The top 6 entries were announced, and the presentations began. A panel of new judges were brought in to review the entries.

Final judges were Makoto Ito – Managing Director TCJP, Sylvia Shuler CFO - TCNA, Tetsuo Ogawa COO NA Region & EVP – TMNA, Jack Hollis - GVP Toyota Division - TMNA, Norm Bafunno – SVP Unit Manufacturing – TMNA, Masa Nakashima VP – TMNA/Uber ATG, Doug Moore - GM - Technology for Human Support - TMNA, and Charan Lota - Chief Engineer TMNA CT

The winning teams were as follows:

Tied for 1st

Team G – Social Good - Amber Alert Detection using Computer Vision - Jhilan Alkarawi, Kusha Gharahi, Cody Heimberger, Adam Margherio, Nate Marshall, Scott Meyer, Jake Morrow, and Ashley Parks

Team K – Safety - Hot Cars: Next Gen “Sky’s the Limit” leveraging Millimeter Wave Radar Technology - Joel Cressy, Daniel Esponda, Lance Jacobs, Andrew LeCody, Daniel Reaser, Simon Roberts, Gaurav Saxena

Tied for 2nd

Team A – Convenience - Driver Miser - Dynamic Fuel and Toll Cost Management - Nimish Amlathe, Trent Bennett, Eric Rader, Ivan Segura, and Gopalan Shanmugakani

Team O – Safety/Social Good - Vehicle Crowd Source for Emergency Responders using Computer Vision - Chris Casey, Bryan Chapman, Shravanthi Denthumdas, Mason Harris, Aghyad Saleh, Raja Shekar, Blake Wong, and Dingchao Zhang

Given the success of this event, we are planning to do this annually and open the event up to other groups in TMNA as well as other Toyota Companies worldwide. At this time, I would like to give a special thanks to all of the judges, the participants, and the amazing event staff from Toyota Connected and TMNA Connected Technologies for supporting our teams in this amazing event. Most of all I would like to give thanks to Zack Hicks and Steve Basra for trusting me with putting on a 36-hour event that brought together so many talented individuals from across the globe.

I'm so proud of all the amazing work done by all the participants and can't wait until we can get together again to help Toyota bring new technology capabilities to the world.

Brian Kursar

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