AN OXFORD postgraduate student has teamed up with other entrepreneurs to help launch an app that tracks supermarket queues.

Crowdless, a free real-time app, has been designed by Alex Barnes and other youngsters across the UK, to help the public during the coronavirus pandemic.

The app was created in just three days by the DPhil student and uses anonymised data that allows users to see if their local supermarket is crowded.

Crowdless therefore allows users to to check whether there are queues at their supermarket, and if so, can go somewhere else.

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Mr Barnes said: “We were keen to see what we could do to help in the current circumstances, and we came up with Crowdless.

“We think it will be extremely useful for people who need to travel to shops and grocery stores, but are trying to do social distancing effectively to protect themselves and the wider population.”

The app works globally, helping people all over the world to maintain social distancing, keeping themselves and others safe.

“It’s all very early days but our biggest number of users so far have been in Germany and Spain,” added Mr Barnes.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the international development student had been planning to travel to Colombia to work on an app which would help users avoid potential harmful situations.

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The know-how he and his team gathered from this has enabled them to come up with the crowd, rather than conflict, avoiding app.

Crowdless doesn’t collect users’ personal information, as location knowledge is collated on an opt-in basis, only for the purpose of providing relevant results.

It does this using a combination of existing data sources and crowdsourced data.

The work done by Mr Barnes and his team has been backed by Foundry, an entrepreneurship centre at Oxford university.

The app itself was created under the auspices of Lanterne, a UK-based social enterprise led by Mr Barnes, and a group of collaborators, including researchers and students from other UK institutions.

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One of the team, Sebastian Müller, said: “Lanterne has always been about helping people to stay safe, and the pandemic is arguably one of the biggest safety threats right now.

“Focusing on building something that helps people to cope with the current situation was therefore only logical.”

The Foundry was set up in 2017 to help new ventures such as Crowdless get off the ground.

It has established a Covid-19 action plan aimed at helping ventures which are responding to the pandemic.