GroundLink - book a ride in New York using your smartphone

Published in Mobile, Service, Technology, ShamelessComments

Groundlink is an established aggregator and solutions provider to the ground travel industry founded in 2003 and now it offers the ability to book a private ride anytime, anywhere using your smartphone.

Need a ride now? Or you want to book a ride in designated time? Prefer an exclusive limo? Or just want to get from place to place as cheap as possible? No problem. All you need is an Android or iOS smartphone and Groundlink application.

How does it work?

Let's say you're located somewhere on Manhattan, NY. You're in a hurry for an urgent meeting? Going on a date, but you don't have a car? You're a rock star and need a to get yourself and equipment to the concert? In less than minute, you can call a cab. Without even having to raise your hand :)

This is how calling a driver in your vicinity looks like. Nearby drivers can be seen on the map near your location

Setting up option for current ride, choosing the destination, costs overview, confirming you reservation

In less then a minute, a list of nearby drivers is obtained. Location of the assigned driver can be monitored while waiting. You can also see the driver's name and check the plates and car model so you can find him easier in the crowd.

You can monitor your location and estimated remaining time during the ride. Make a stop for cofee and monitor the status while your driver is waiting.

You can also rate your driver from the application, notify your friends about the ride (which provides you with extra credits for future rides, Dropbox style) and leave a status about your ride on your favorite social network.

The whole thing is very transparent regarding payment, which is made directly from personal credit card or business account. You can also see how much the ride will cost in advance.

What does it have to do with us?

Well, set aside that we like to drive arround in limos, Infinum developed GroundLink android application that is currently active in the Android Market.

Challenges

First of all, this is a large and complex project that had a very short deadline so we had to work and adapt very very fast.

How to achieve publish - subscribe pattern on Android? Messages have to be sent from server to Android device so the status could be promptly refreshed durring ride. As a solution Cloud to Device Mesaging was used. It's a large enough topic for another blog post, so we won't go into details here. As an example, one of the cases that had to be solved was periodic refreshing of the application registration to C2DM server.

Another important thing is that real drivers in NY are behind all this. Durring debugging and testing process it was necessary to use additional precaution measures so the drivers don't end up waiting for somebody that will never show up.

TechCrunch about Groundlink Android

As a closing note, take a look what the popular tech site TechCrunch thinks about the Groundlink service and mobile applications.

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