Bangalore's tech sector is booming, but one obstacle stands in its way--traffic jams. Flipkart, one of India's largest ecommerce companies, recently hosted a hackathon to bring tech companies from around the world together to generate ideas on how to solve the city's infamous standstill traffic.
More than 1,000 teams participated in Flipkart's Gridlock Hackathon to pitch solutions. The ideas range from internet-of-things-powered road dividers and traffic signals to apps that report traffic violators to police. Teams from Amazon, Uber, Google, and Microsoft pitched ideas alongside such startups as India's ride-sharing company Ola to compete for $5,500 prize, Bloomberg reports.
The hackathon comes at the right time. Bangalore, home to more than 10 million people, is experiencing unprecedented growth, and tech companies plan to double down investment there. For example, Intel plans to invest $178 million to expand its operations in the city. But the city's traffic jams threaten to put the promised growth at risk. Commuting across town can take hours, and the city's roads and infrastructure cannot handle the current population. Riding-hailing drivers for Ola and Uber cannot meet their daily ride quotas, and deliveries arrive late.
Submissions closed last week, drawing entries from Seattle to Dubai for projects with names like CitizenCop and NoHonk.
Binny Bansal, Flipkart's chief executive officer, says solving the Bangalore traffic problem is paramount to the city's success.
"The city has the potential to become a truly world-class business and social destination if only its traffic were a little less unruly," Bansal tells Bloomberg.