17 Nov 2010 13:45:50.387
An innovative new internet and smart phone ‘app’ that will allow passengers to electronically hail their nearest taxi has won the UK round of a major competition to develop the latest in satellite navigation technology.
TaxiZapp, developed by Rosemary McClenaghan, uses a mapping system to allow passengers to locate any available taxis in their immediate area, electronically hail the nearest or preferred taxi and watch as the taxi approaches, offering an innovative, fun and easy way to flag down the nearest taxi home.
The application will save passengers valuable time and money in quickly finding a taxi and provide taxi drivers with a new sales avenue. TaxiZapp will target independent taxi drivers and passengers with immediate requests for hire rather than advance bookings.
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TaxiZapp was crowned UK winner at the awards ceremony held at the Munich headquarters for the European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC), which aims to encourage the development of the next generation of must-have ‘sat-nav’ technologies by offering opportunities to gain support, market exposure and funding.
The win has netted TaxiZapp a cash prize of £10,000, three years membership to the Royal Institute of Navigation (RIN) and six months business incubation support from the GNSS Research & Applications Centre of Excellence (GRACE) at The University of Nottingham, which hosted the UK round of the competition.
In addition, the project will benefit from a free UK patent submission, business plan advice and introductions to technology partners and funding opportunities to give the new application the best chance of business success.
TaxiZapp’s Rosemary McClenaghan said: “TaxiZapp, due for release this month, has been in development since April this year. Winning the UK and Ireland section of the ESNC has been a validation of the merit of my idea to develop a website and iphone application which uses satellite navigation capabilities to link potential passengers with available taxis in the area.
“The Munich award ceremony was a wonderful opportunity to present Taxi Zapp to a wider audience and to network with the other winners. I am delighted that part of my prize is incubation support from GRACE, which will be invaluable as my business launches.”
GRACE’s General Manager Paul Bhatia said: “This is a fantastic result for GRACE and the UK. The ESNC is a very effective springboard for new companies and ideas using satellite navigation technologies.
“We look forward to working closely with TaxiZapp and other entrants to help them realise their ideas and we would like to thank all of our sponsors who made it possible for us to achieve such a great result.”
GRACE, part of the Institute of Engineering Surveying and Space Geodesy at The University of Nottingham had double cause for celebration. This year it gained a record number of entries for the UK round of the competition — the highest of all the regions involved and in the competition’s history.
The European Satellite Navigation Competition, which attracts applicants from 23 regions across the globe, is open to anybody with an idea which uses satellite navigation technology, be it for position time, navigation or any other application.
The overall winner of the 2010 ESNC was Wikitude Drive, the world’s first fully functional mobile augmented reality (AR) navigation system with global maps. The lightweight turn-by-turn navigation system uses AR to draw driving instructions directly on to the live video stream of a smart phone, meaning the driver can see the route in the real world rather than following an abstract map.
The UK round of the competition received sponsorship by the UK Space Agency, Technology Strategy Board, EADS Astrium, Scott York, Spirent, IET, Knowledge Transfer Network, Samsung R&D and Logica.
The 2011 competition will be open from April next year, so potential applicants are being urged to get their thinking caps on to come up with the next bright idea in the world of sat-nav apps.
More information about the UK ESNC is available on the web at www.ukesnc.com/index.php Further details about GRACE can be found at www.grace.ac.uk
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Times as “the nearest Britain has to a truly global university”, has award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings.
The University is committed to providing a truly international education for its 39,000 students, producing world-leading research and benefiting the communities around its campuses in the UK and Asia.
More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranked the University 7th in the UK by research power.
The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health.
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