Lockdown blues? Drive through different cities with this app


If you miss the sights and sounds of your city during long drives this lockdown, here is a web app that attempts to recreate that bustle on your phone.

Musical Drive simulates the first-person view of a driver in a car that is weaving its way across the city, navigating traffic and passing by familiar landmarks. For the complete feel, you can switch the street sounds on, and also switch between different radio stations.

The web app features 22 Indian cities, from the stately wide roads in Delhi and the dusty outskirts of Greater Noida, to an evening on the Mumbai Sealink, the coast of Chennai, and the colourful houses of Sikkim.

Ironically, the creator of this web app, Khushil Shah does not drive on the highways — he is 19. The second year Engineering student at KJ Somaiya College, Mumbai, had his days empty after his term exams were officially cancelled due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

The web app was his father’s idea. “He saw something like this online for foreign cities, and asked me if I could recreate this for Indian cities,” he says, over a phone call. Within a week, he and his elder brother Hitansh, who runs the Instagram page @tipsfromgeek, built this web app.

Musical Drive, which opens on a web browser, basically uses drive-around YouTube videos and enlarges them to fit the screen. The video source link for each city is embedded at the bottom of the screen.

After a good first response — over 700k views by the fifth day, he expanded the app to include cities in the US, Canada and the UK. “My classmates told me that their relatives living abroad were really happy seeing the videos because it recreated their memories of India,” he says. Radio stations like Vividh Bharati help too.

“I now want to add something resembling a calling feature to it, so it feels like you are speaking to your friends while on a long drive. I am not really sure how to go about it, but I’m figuring it out!” he says.

Visit http://musicaldrive. herokuapp.com/index.html or check out @tipsfromgeek on Instagram.

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