OpenRide Mobile Ridesharing Service

Technology.am (Sept. 04, 2009) — Fraunhofer researchers are presenting a prototype of OpenRide mobile ridesharing service; this will not only save costs but also help the environment by reducing the amount of city traffic.

openride“OpenRide links mobile terminals with navigation and route planning software to automatically organize ridesharing opportunities,” explains Dr. Matthias Flügge, project manager at FOKUS.

The OpenRide mobile ridesharing service currently is being developed by researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems FOKUS.

Users will open the app on their cellphone and select from a menu the options for offering or looking for a ride. They then enter the starting and finishing points, as well as the number of places available or required, and send the enquiry to the OpenRide server, where a search engine for intelligent route matching compares the offers and requests received.

The search not only takes the starting and finishing points into account but also partial journeys in between.

Drivers can offer lifts spontaneously on OpenRide from their cellphone while out on the road and ride seekers can look for a lift opportunity in their direct vicinity. This information together with the current position is transmitted wirelessly to a server, where a special software program continuously compares offers with requests for rides. Matching offers are displayed in real time on the cellphone with the message “Driver found”, stating the name and the probable pickup and travel time.

The ad-hoc service even conveys requests for rides placed after the driver has set off. An intelligent search engine takes partial journeys, short detours and the current position of the driver and potential passenger into account.

The researchers are also planning to equip OpenRide with a rating system and user profiles to strengthen the trust between driver and passenger.

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