UTD and Notre Dame Students’ Route-Planning App Gets 5 New Features After Saving Users ‘2 Million Miles’ of Driving

Launched last fall on the Apple iOS and Google Play app stores, the Routora app has added 37,000 drivers in over 90 countries, saving them 2.1 million driving miles, 50,000 hours, $315,000 in fuel costs, and 940 tons in CO2 emissions, the startup says.

After winning UT Dallas’ Big Idea competition in May 2023, fourth-year computer science student Tom Vazhekatt launched Routora—his team’s winning “route optimization” app—on the Apple iOS and Google Play app stores last fall. Now the startup has released five new features after seeing some surprising global success.

Routora uses artificial intelligence to automatically reorder drivers’ stops on Google Maps, Apple Maps and Waze, “providing faster and more cost-efficient multi-stop routes.” The startup says it saves drivers time, miles driven, and money while reducing their carbon footprint. The app aims to be especially useful for people who make lots of trips daily, like realtors and home healthcare workers.

[Image: Routora]

And the app isn’t just for driving—it can help optimize cycling and walking trips, too.

To date, Routora says its app has added 37,000 drivers in over 90 countries, saving them 2.1 million driving miles, 50,000 hours, $315,000 in fuel costs, and 940 tons in CO2 emissions.

Team includes other UTD students and Notre Dame students

Winning the Big Idea competition. [Photo: Routora]

Routora’s leadership team also includes Co-Founder and CFO Luke Blazek and Co-Founder and COO Brian George. UTD students Aryaman Dubey, Shoaib Huq, and Abrar Zaman are working for the startup as software engineers.

The app’s new features were created following user feedback provided on social media, email, and reviews.

“Our drivers give us valuable feedback via email/social media/reviews and we built out these new features to enable users to create optimized routes more efficiently and hassle free, all while tracking their savings along the way,” Co-Founder and CEO Vazhekatt said in a statement. “We’re always looking for ways to make their experience on Routora even better.”

Routora optimizes route planning. [Graphic: Routora]

The new features include, per Routora:

:: An Excel/CSV import/export feature that allows drivers to import stops from a stored file and have them seamlessly auto populate into the app/website, versus having to type them in manually. Also, drivers can now save routes as an Excel/CSV file. 

:: A “sharing routes” feature allowing businesses to efficiently manage their drivers by sending optimized routes to them. 

:: A camera scanner feature that allows drivers to take a picture of a physical list of stops and have them auto populated directly into the app.  

:: Monthly savings updates that give drivers data on how much they’re saving monthly for budgeting and tax purposes.

:: Ability to copy and paste a list of stops, another “great option to save time when entering your itinerary.”

[Graphic: Routora]

The Routora team said the new features in beta testing helped the owner of Dahlio’s restaurant in London save time and money delivering food for his ghost kitchen fast food restaurant during the holidays. “Utilizing Routora’s camera scanner and import file features, he uploaded all his delivery stops to the Routora app which gave him the most efficient multi stop delivery route and he shared the optimized route with his team of drivers using the sharing routes feature,” the startup said.

Another use case identified by Routora is from an environmental professor at John Hopkins University, who’s said to use Routora to optimize routing and design of mobile air pollutant measurement routes.

“We have a van that we use to measure air pollution while driving around, and there are a lot of locations that we would like to drive by to measure if there are differences in air pollutant concentrations,” the professor said, according to the startup. “Routora provides a really useful way to do this.”

Working on an app isn’t as glamorous as it may sound, as this shot of the Routora team at work can attest. [Photo: Routora]

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