Coronavirus: Crowdless app offers shoppers supermarket crowd levels

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Crowdless appImage source, OxfordUniversity
Image caption,
Crowdless is an app which helps people avoid crowds

A phone app has been launched that allows people to check in real-time whether a supermarket is crowded.

Co-founder Alex Barnes said "Crowdless" enables people to social-distance "effectively" during the coronavirus lockdown.

Mr Barnes, a post-graduate University of Oxford student, designed the app in three days with other entrepreneurs.

The university said the free app uses "anonymised data" to calculate crowd numbers in a store.

Mr Barnes said he, along with Sebastian Mueller and Yohan Iddawela, came up with the app as they were "keen to see what we could do to help in the current circumstances".

"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," he said.

Mr Barnes said the app, which works globally, has so far attracted the greatest number of users in Germany and Spain.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, he had been planning to travel to Colombia to work on an app that would help fellow travellers avoid potentially harmful situations.

The expertise he and his team gathered enabled them to come up with a crowd rather than conflict-avoiding app.

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