The Ministry of Surface Transport, Government of India had initially stipulated that the public transport system needs to be streamlined and mandated Vehicle Tracking, deployment of Panic buttons and increased surveillance. These standards were supposed to go live on Apr 1 2018 and have now been pushed to Apr 1 2019.
The standards require compliance of several items interalia;
- All Devices should have Emergency Buttons and support Vehicle Location Tracking
- All Devices should support GAGAN, the Indian Satellite Based Augmentation System
- Device shall have a position accuracy of minimum 2.5 m
- Device shall have an acquisition sensitivity of minimum (-) 148 dBm
- Device shall have a tracking sensitivity of minimum (-) 165 dBm
- Device shall support standard minimum I/Os as mentioned: 4 Digital, 2 Analogue and 1 Serial Communication (e.g. RS232) for interfacing external systems (E.g. Digital input for Emergency request button interfacing).
- Device shall be capable of transmitting data to Backend Control Server (Government authorized server) via Wide Area (Mobile) Communications network (GSM/GPRS).
- Device shall be capable of transmitting Position, Velocity and Time (PVT data) along with heading (direction of travel) to a Backend Control Server (Government authorized server) at configurable frequency as per Communication Protocol of Section 4.
- The fixed frequency shall be user configurable, minimum frequency shall be 5 secs during vehicle operation and not less than 10 minutes in sleep/IGN OFF) as per the protocol defined in Communication Protocol of Section 4.
- On pressing of Emergency button, the system implementing VLT function shall send emergency Alert to the configured IP address(s) as per the Communication Protocol. In the absence of GPRS network, the emergency alert shall be sent as SMS message along with vehicle location data to configured control center number(s).
- Device shall store/write the registration number of the vehicle in the internal nonvolatile memory
- Device shall have an Embedded SIM
- The Device shall support:
- Location on GPRS/SMS
- Non-volatile memory to store min 40,000 positional log
- Configurable backup SMS facility in case of GPRS failure
- Capability to send serving and adjacent cell ID as well as network measurement report (NMR)
- Device shall support A-GPS (Assisted GPS)
- Device should have Set configuration parameter like sleep time, overspeed limit, harsh braking, harsh acceleration, rash turning threshold limits etc.
However, are the Indian Fleet Operators equipped to provide these devices in vehicles in which employees are transported? The answer is NO
99% of the GPS devices deployed in India do not have an embedded sim and do not have the ability to reveal data on harsh braking, rash turning etc. Several of the inexpensive GPS devices have been made with old chipsets on account of costs that will not meet the stipulated position accuracy of 2.5 meters. 100% of these Devices do not support GAGAN, the Indian Satellite GPS system.
All our customers are stipulating in the new contracts that the fleets be provided AIS 140 approved devices. The government mandatory order also indicates no longer the Employee Transportation SaaS companies can provide purely mobile based Driver APP solutions. The costs are expected to go up and we expect this to increase the cost of transport per employee by at least Rs 15 per month.
Customers in the Employee transport segment are bound to encounter the following challenges in their run up to becoming compliant with the AIS 140 standards: –
a. They are tied up with multiple fleet operators for their requirement and one or more of these vendors may be reluctant to comply as they may have recently invested in the non-compliant hardware and may not yet have seen the returns.
b. It is a matter of common knowledge that the quality of certain telecom providers is best in certain cities while yet others are preferable in certain other cities. Therefore, in order to get the best service for their organization, companies having multiple offices across different cities in India may have to go in for different service providers and by extension, look for device providers who work with a range of telecom service providers. We still have no clue on how easy it is going to change service providers with embedded sims in the age of Telcos going insolvent.
c. Customers who have adopted the driver APP-based employee transport solution would have to realign themselves and evaluate their current Employee Transport SaaS provider’s ability to support GPS device-based tracking solution. If they do not have the capability, Customers must waste no time in identifying other SaaS providers with comprehensive product features to support this requirement.
Therefore, Customers would do well to review their existing vehicle tracking solution for AIS 140 compliance and if they are not already compliant, start taking necessary steps to evaluate other options, in order to smoothly migrate/espouse a robust AIS 140 compliant Employee Transport system, well within the stipulated deadline of April 2019.