“Modern school bus tracking systems are equipped with a range of features that make them more secure, efficient, and reliable than traditional tracking systems” – Sameer Mahapatra, Country Manager-India and SAARC, Aeris Communications

Aeris-Vice-President-and-Country-Sales-Head-India-&-SAARC-Sameer-MahapatraWhat role has IoT played in enhancing school bus tracking system in India?

As per National Crime Records Bureau, 22,442 persons, including school children lost their lives in bus accidents in India from 2018-2021. As the number of accidents and incidents of crime has risen, parents have become increasingly concerned about the safety of their children while they are being transported to and from school. This heightened level of anxiety is due to the potential dangers and security threats that their children may encounter during their commute. Concerning the school students’ safety, the Transport Department of the Government of India has made installation of bus trackers mandatory for newly registered vehicles. The Automobile Research Association of India (ARAI) has mandated that all public and private school buses have an AIS 140 authorized GPS gadget with panic buttons.

Due to these safety concerns, schools are increasingly adopting transportation system technologies to enhance their capabilities. This led to emergence of Internet of Things (IoT) that ensures complete visibility of school buses. While traditional GPS-based data confirms the location and movement of the bus, IoT empowers the system by tracking the attendance and location of students. This IoT-based system enables both school administration and parents to track safety and conditions inside the school bus in real-time. It makes the traditional tracking system more efficient, secure, and reliable. By combining GPS, GMS, and RFID technologies, the modern school bus tracking system provides greater transparency in operations.

Share in detail about the features that are embedded in a modern school bus tracking system. 

Modern school bus tracking systems are equipped with a range of features that make them more secure, efficient, and reliable than traditional tracking systems. Some of the key features of a modern school bus tracking system are:

  • GPS Tracking:A modern school bus tracking system relies on GPS technology to track the location, speed, and movement of the school bus in real-time. This allows parents and school administrators to track the bus’s exact location and get real-time updates on the bus’s movement and estimated time of arrival.
  • RFID-based Attendance Tracking (Radio Frequency Identification):Many modern school bus tracking systems are equipped with RFID technology that enables automatic attendance tracking of students boarding and alighting from the bus. This feature helps parents and school authorities to keep track of the student’s attendance and ensure their safety.
  • Panic Button:A panic button is an essential safety feature in modern school bus tracking systems. Students can press the panic button in case of an emergency, and it sends an alert to the school authorities and parents with the bus location, enabling them to take immediate action.
  • Smart Notifications:Modern school bus tracking systems send smart notifications to parents, informing them about the bus’s arrival and departure time, and any delays or deviations in the bus route. It also sends notifications when the bus is about to reach the designated stop, making it convenient for parents to plan their schedule accordingly.
  • Geo-fencing:Geo-fencing is a virtual boundary that can be created around the school bus route using GPS technology. Any deviation from this pre-defined route triggers an alert to the school authorities and parents, enabling them to take corrective action.
  • Live Video Monitoring:Some modern school bus tracking systems come equipped with live video monitoring features that allow school authorities and parents to monitor the students’ behavior and safety in real-time.
  • Driver Behavior Monitoring: Modern school bus tracking systems can monitor the driver’s behavior, including driving speed, route adherence, and harsh braking or acceleration. This feature enables school authorities to ensure that drivers follow all safety protocols and drive responsibly. These features not only provide complete visibility and control over student safety during school transportation but also enable school authorities and parents to take corrective action in case of any emergency or deviation from the pre-defined route. 

What are the Challenges of IoT application in public transportation? 

While IoT has brought significant advancements in public transportation systems, there are several challenges that need to be addressed. One of the major challenges is the issue of data privacy and security. With the collection of sensitive information such as passenger location and behavior, there is a potential risk of this data being accessed by unauthorized parties, leading to privacy breaches and cyber-attacks.  The implementation of IoT systems also requires significant expertise and technical knowledge, which may be a challenge for some transportation agencies. Moreover, these systems require a reliable internet connection, and in remote areas with limited network coverage, the systems may not function optimally.

There is also the challenge of interoperability and standardization. With the deployment of IoT systems by different vendors, there is a lack of standardization in the protocols and communication mechanisms used by these devices, which can make it challenging to integrate the systems with existing infrastructure. The adoption of industry-wide standards and protocols can help address this challenge and ensure seamless integration of IoT systems in public transportation.

Despite the above challenges the advantages of IoT outweigh the risks and IoT for school bus monitoring is growing rapidly. 

How does Aeris’ School Bus Management Platform help in transforming the mobility space in India? 

Aeris IoT-based School Bus Management Platform is a comprehensive solution that utilizes IoT technology to address the safety concerns associated with school transportation in India and provides easy-to-use route creation. The platform integrates various technologies such as GPS, GMS, RFID, and sensors to offer real-time monitoring and control of school buses.

With the help of this platform, school administrators and parents can track the bus location, route, speed, and other important information in real-time. They can also get alerts and notifications regarding any security breach or deviation from the scheduled route, enabling them to take immediate action. The platform also offers advanced features such as attendance tracking, driver behavior monitoring, and fuel consumption management. It enables schools to optimize their bus routes, minimize fuel consumption, and reduce overall transportation costs. It also provides a user-friendly dashboard that can be accessed via desktop or mobile devices, making it easy for parents and school administrators to monitor the transportation process from anywhere at any time.

Apart from this, Aeris technology has been helping businesses of varied scales and sizes to capture and use data from commercial and personal vehicles including trucks, tempos, tractors, commercial cars, 2,3 & 4 wheelers and electric vehicles at unprecedented volumes and speeds. It also provides unparalleled security to identify the changes and respond accordingly. In the past, AerTrak technology has successfully recovered stolen vehicles, especially, eRickshaws, high-end cars and commercial trucks. During this Covid-19 crisis and lockdown, Aeris technology has helped law enforcement and disaster management agencies in multiple cities for improving response time to crisis with faster mobilization of police vehicles via live location tracking, enabling better coordination between the police vehicles and faster action for crisis management.

What role will the technology play in the development of public transportation? 

Technology is set to play a vital role in the development of public transportation in various ways. It can enhance the efficiency of public transportation by providing real-time data on traffic and passenger flow. For example, IoT sensors can be used to monitor traffic flow, and data can be analyzed to optimize traffic patterns and reduce congestion. It can also monitor vehicles, track their location, and alert authorities in case of accidents or security breaches. This can lead to faster, more reliable, and cost-effective transportation services for passengers.

Easy-to-use technology, like contactless payment systems, can attract more users to public transit. Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) and conductor less ticketing are examples of smart public transit systems that utilize data gathered through IoT and payment gateways to offer seamless user experiences. Multi-modal trip planning and first/last mile connectivity offer an easy solution to ticketing troubles. The feature allows users to modify their rides in a unified QR code, saving time and providing tailored solutions. Geo-mapping tracks real-time information about public transport, traffic issues, and travel time, enabling transport corporations to fine-tune the system for efficient, faster travel without extra costs. Overall, technology in public transportation can provide cheaper, more accessible, and sustainable travel options for the public.

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