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A group of students from the University of the Philippines has been named global winner of Shell Eco-Marathon: Pitch the Future in the “Tracking and Reducing CO2 Emissions from Vehicles” challenge.

The team, called Alamat UP, is composed of engineering students Matthew Solomon Arjonillo, Esther Bacay, John Cagape, Paolo Ricco Gauma, Althea Laza, Fulin Li, Jan Goran Tomacruz, and Marc Adrian Yu, as well as business administration and accountancy student Aleandro Sta. Ana.

Their winning idea, besting other entries from 84 countries, is a smartphone app called CO2 Emissions Reduction Operation (CERO), which “intends to track and reduce the [carbon dioxide] emissions of passenger vehicles.”

Among CERO’s key features include real-time eco-driving notifications which, when followed, incentivizes users in the form of fuel savings, discounts, and coupons.

It also has an optimal route mapping capability, which shows the driver the best routes to take as well as the amount of fuel and money saved.

Their estimates show that carbon dioxide emissions per vehicle can be reduced by 15% through their app, and that monthly fuel costs can drop by ₱1,750 to ₱7,250. Policy makers may also refer to the app’s website version for data “to collectively mitigate the effects of vehicles emissions in the environment.”

Alamat UP’s win marks the first time a Philippine team won in the competition’s 35-year history. The team received $1,500 in prize and $750 for being the Asia/Middle East winner during the regionals back in November.

“We chose to take part in Pitch the Future, because we have a collective passion to prove to ourselves that we can make a difference in this world,” the team says in a video feature by Shell Eco-marathon. “[We are] very proud of the fact that we were able to come up with an innovative solution that does not use additional hardware and is cheap enough for anyone to use.”

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