Got a favorite team in the Automotive X Prize? Once the road race portion of the AXP starts up (which is when, again?), we'll be able to follow the contest and specific vehicles online thanks to AXP's just-announced partnership with ThinkWrap. Vehicles will be monitored in "near-real time" thanks to a GPS-driven Google map "with interactive vehicle icons and virtual instrument displays," which we hope is more exciting than it sounds.

Scheduled to kick off in January, the new online portion of the AXP will also feature a social media network and team trackers along with the dashboard gadgets. The most interesting portion should be the ability to use the in-vehicle telemetry to "observe how vehicle technologies and driving styles affect important current and cumulative figures-of-merit such as fuel-economy, environmental impact, vehicle status, and more." If the AXP and ThinkWrap can make this contest engaging and data-rich, their effort to educate people about high-mileage vehicles will take a big leap forward.

Later today, the AXP will announce the teams that are "moving ahead" in the competition. Stay tuned.

[Source: Automotive X Prize]


PRESS RELEASE:

X PRIZE Foundation to Partner with ThinkWrap on Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE Competition Vehicle Telemetry


Company to develop software allowing public to track the performance of each competitor's vehicle online and in near-real time.

PLAYA VISTA, CA, October 14, 2009 – The X PRIZE Foundation today announced details of a unique partnership with ThinkWrap Solutions Inc. to benefit the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE, a multi-million dollar competition designed to inspire a new generation of viable, safe and super fuel-efficient vehicles.

An innovative technology company, ThinkWrap has expertise in the delivery of high performance digital solutions spanning internet mapping, ecommerce, and content management. Working for clients such as Google, Martha Stewart, and Quebecor Media Inc., the firm has implemented projects that range from advanced location based solutions to personalized retail ecommerce sites and real-time integrated SMS solutions, such as the project they developed for the 2008 Democratic National Convention. For the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE, ThinkWrap will lead the development and implementation of an online portal driven by actual competition data, featuring a GPS-driven map with interactive vehicle icons and virtual instrument displays that provide near real-time and cumulative feedback.

Once the online portal launches in January 2010, viewers will be able to follow the competition, monitor specific vehicles or vehicle types, and observe how vehicle technologies and driving styles affect important current and cumulative figures-of-merit such as fuel-economy, environmental impact, vehicle status, and more. Supporting the vehicle telemetry will be three main components: social media, a team tracker, and a dashboard gadget.

The online vehicle telemetry solution will be housed within www.FuelOurFutureNow.com, the competition's education Web site developed in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy and Discovery Education. A direct link will also be available from the main competition Web site at www.progressiveautoxprize.org, and all three components will have the flexibility to be embedded on multiple Web sites.

Bob Larsen, Senior Advisor, Technical Operations for the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE, is working collaboratively with Argonne National Laboratory to define and understand the data flow from each vehicle so that ThinkWrap can translate that data into an online visual display of information that can be accessed by anyone across the globe interested in watching and tracking the competition.

"One of the most critical components of this competition is to introduce new technologies and ideas to the public, while educating on the importance of sound vehicle telemetry," noted Larsen. "Doing that requires a highly reliable solution that will provide correct data while engaging the public in the process. We're confident that ThinkWrap will help us deliver just that."

"ThinkWrap is absolutely thrilled to be a partner in this important and highly visible project," commented Marc Lamoureux, Chief Operating Officer for ThinkWrap. "As an advanced technology company, we are inspired by the innovative efforts of the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE teams towards building cleaner and more efficient automotive technology solutions."

As part of their vehicle technology solution, ThinkWrap will create a Google Map API Implementation powered by Google App Engine. "We're excited that the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE and ThinkWrap are using Google's platform to help bring this wonderful initiative to life," said Mike Pegg, Product Marketing Manager for Google Maps.

The Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE Education Program, funded through a multi-year grant by the U.S Department of Energy, will engage the general public in learning about alternative fuels, energy efficiency, climate change, and the science, technology, engineering, and math behind advanced vehicle development. A key goal of this national program will be to inspire the public to learn more about and pursue careers in related areas, and to generate excitement about the energy-efficient vehicle options of the near-future.

The Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE will award $10 million in prizes to teams that can engineer clean, production-capable vehicles that exceed 100 MPG or its energy equivalent fuel efficiency (MPGe) and win a rigorous stage competition. Winners of the international competition will be announced in 2010. For more information about the competition, please visit www.progressiveautoxprize.org.

ABOUT THE X PRIZE FOUNDATION
The X PRIZE Foundation is an educational nonprofit prize institute whose mission is to create radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. In 2004, the Foundation captured world headlines when Burt Rutan, backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, built and flew the world's first private vehicle to space to win the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE. The Foundation has since launched the $10 million Archon X PRIZE for Genomics, the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE, and the $10 million Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE. The Foundation is creating and conducting competitions in four prize groups: Exploration (Space and Oceans), Life Sciences, Energy and Environment, Education and Global Development. The Foundation is widely recognized as the leader in fostering innovation through competition. For more information, please visit www.xprize.org.

ABOUT THINKWRAP
ThinkWrap Solutions Inc. is a leader in the delivery of high performance digital solutions. Founded in 2004, ThinkWrap specializes in Content, Commerce and Context based solutions and products. The firm supports clients spanning many industries including Health, Education, Finance, Retail, and Government. For more information, please visit our website at www.thinkwrap.com
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