In May, UT Dallas student Tom Vazhekatt won the university’s Big Idea Competition in the Student Track category for his team’s new app, Routora. The route optimization app creates “faster and more efficient multi-stop routes” by optimally reordering a list of addresses to save you time and money on the road.
Now the fourth-year computer science major is taking another route to success—by officially launching the app Thursday in the Apple iOS and Google Play app stores.
As Dallas Innovates wrote in a 2022 story, when Vazhekatt got his drivers license as a teenager, he found himself having to run errands all over town. As he drove in circles, backtracked, and went to the same neighborhood twice, he wished there was a way to find the shortest route between every stop so he could get finished as soon as possible.
Later, when he worked for the local nonprofit Trusted World—which helps deliver clothing, food, and other items to those in need—Vazhekatt realized that businesses need help to find those shortest multi-stop routes, too.
App ‘helps you spend less time on the road’
That led to Vazhekatt and his team’s development of Routora, an app that helps users find the best route when they have multiple stops. Instead of merely finding the best route from A to B then B to C, Routora checks all route combinations to find the most efficient one, reordering your journey and saving you time and money.
In a video, Vazhekatt offers three ways Routora can help you:
“The first way that it can help you is by helping you spend less time on the road,” the co-founder says. “If you’re creating more efficient routes, by default you’re wasting less time on the road. The second way that this can help you is by helping you spend less money on gas. We all know fuel costs right now are not it—anything to help you save some money, we got you.”
“The third way that Routora can help you is by helping you reduce your carbon footprint,” Vazhekatt adds. “If you’re able to spend less time on the road and less money on gas while also contributing to a sustainable future, that’s a win in my book.”
Co-founders and UTD student software developers
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.
Routora “connects seamlessly” with navigation apps like Google Maps, Apple Maps, and Waze, “ensuring a smooth transition from planning to navigation,” the startup says in Apple’s App Store. And it’s not just for driving—it can help with cycling and walking trips too.
Routora is able to account for things like traffic conditions and road closures. During development, the startup also provided its tool in dozens of languages—which helped it attract around 3,000 users from 70 countries even while the app was still in beta, Vazhekatt told us last year.
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