Drover’s dream is to create a fun, positive, and encouraging environment where people can travel seamlessly from one place to another in an eco-friendly manner to move the world. In brainstorming different ways to achieve this, we thought: how awesome would it be if riders could choose the music that played over the course of their ride?! The current app allows riders and drivers to connect with each other and share rides... hence Drover Rideshare.
In addition to the core functionality of the Drover app (facilitating ridesharing), we are working on developing a new feature, Drover Music, that will also allow riders to request and play songs from their phone during their ride. The rider will use Spotify to search for a song to request to play. The request will be received by the driver if the driver allows songs to be played in their vehicle. Once the request is approved, the song will play through the driver’s phone using Spotify while the driver continues to the rider’s requested destination.
Drover Music will allow the users to enjoy the comfort of listening to their own personal Spotify music playlist while they are taken to their destination. The Audio Streaming feature will allow riders to queue music from their device to the driver’s device so that the driver can then stream to their specific automobile. Riders will only be allowed to play music from their Spotify app. Riders will be able to enjoy music while they are in the car of the driver. This feature will be dependent on the individual who first organized the ride. Music will be able to be streamed from their device, not other riders.
The Drover Music project is lead by Alex Risner, a senior at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, TN. Alex and five other Tennessee Tech students on the team got connected with Drover via their Captstone Course in Software Engineering -- a program designed to connect advanced computer science and engineering majors with real-life clients and projects.
In Alex's own words: "As a college student, its been a big learning experience. This is the first time we have been able to get real software engineering experience, as well as working with a customer. It has been a great learning experience". Alex and his team got connected to Drover because of their particular interest, passion, and competency in mobile development. He further explained to me that while before starting the project for Drover he was primarily competent in Android, working on Drover Music has empowered him to expand his knowledge to the Xamarin code base Drover employs, which allows developers to code in C# and share code accross native iOS and Android apps. If that didn't make sense to you -- Xamarin is kind of like Google Translate for coders... It allows us to roughly translate between Android and iOS code then add language-specific tweaks after.
Again in Alex's words: "Drover Music enhances the ridesharing app. Think about all the extra benefits of driving with Drover in general... now, not only can you get a great customer experience but you can also play the music you want." He and his team are extremely excited about working with Drover, and we are thrilled to benefit from their energy and committment to the project.
Alex said that so far, they are working on setting up the User Interface and working on Spotify integration. Some testing is necesssary, but the requisite code and structure is essentially finished. Currently, their biggest challenge will be perfecting the communication pathways between the driver and riders' phones. Thankfully, the Drover app was developed with enough backend framework for that connection that it should be relatively straightforward to connect the driver and riders's phones for music sharing.
In late March, Alex and the Drover Music Team will have their first show of their progress, and anticipate completing the project by the end of the Spring 2017 semester.