As more and more businesses and industries go online, our reliance on services like GPS is only bound to increase. Recent statistics suggests that in developing countries like China and India, smartphone adoption is growing by 300% a year. It is expected that India will have about 450 million smartphone users by 2022, thanks to the affordability of smartphones and inexpensive data plans. This will lead to an increase in the usage of GPS and telematics in these markets to solve a wide variety of problems. Currently, we rely on positioning services for shipping, food delivery, logistics, etc.
We, at Safetrax, also depend on GPS services for tracking school buses and employee transport cabs. GPS data is critical in ensuring the safety of school children as they are transported to and from school. It is also important to identify and manage emergency situations. For example, if a school bus meets with an accident, it is of utmost importance to accurately pinpoint the location and time of the mishap, to mobilize an emergency response.
Similarly, in employee commute operations, a panic button, physically fitted in the vehicles, comes in handy to notify the authorities of an emergency situation. A GPS outage would make it extremely difficult to manage such situations and would put the safety of thousands of children and employees at risk.
A GPS outage can also result in a slew of other inconveniences - Users will be unable to predict when they will arrive at their destinations. It will be harder for companies to track when their raw materials will reach them, distributors will have difficulty in planning orders and estimating delivery times to customers. Therefore, it is essential for us to develop a fail-proof technology that we can fully rely on. It is recommended that we continue using services like GSA and in parallel, we need to invest in a more reliable technology that is resilient from downtime. This parallel technology can be used as the default GPS for emergency services and for mission critical use cases.
- The decline in the 5-14 age-group
- Increase in the number of elementary schools with low student count (<50)
Source: CEIC Data (www.ceicdata.com) ($1 = 68.80 INR)More international schools and schools providing ICSE and IB syllabus are expected to emerge. However, this will also increase the competition among such schools and they will be compared to each other in terms of faculty capability, infrastructure, facilities like transport, canteen and child safety norms, while parents decide which school to put their wards in.
- Aadhaar is mandatory to get a driver’s license and vehicle registration
- Compensation for deaths in hit-and-run cases will be revised from 25000 INR to 2 lacs+ INR
- Guardians/vehicle owners will be held responsible in case of a juvenile traffic violation. If they were not aware, then the juvenile will be tried under the Juvenile Justice Act and the vehicle registration will get cancelled in either scenario.
- People offering help to accident victims will have no obligation to reveal their identities to police/medical personnel.
- Changes to the existing penalty system (values in INR):
|Cause||Existing Penalty||Revised Penalty|
|Not wearing seatbelt||100||1000|
|Talking on phone while driving||1000||5000|
- Vehicles to be altered mandatorily to accommodate specially-abled people
Figure 1: Road accidents are very common in India; hence stringent laws have to be in place for the safety of the people (Source: The Indian Express -https://indianexpress.com/article/india/road-accidents-in-india-2016-17-deaths-on-roads-every-hour-chennai-and-delhi-most-dangerous-4837832/)
- All road users will get compulsory insurance cover for a certain type of accidents by a Motor Vehicle Insurance Fund
- Contractors/consultants/civic agencies will be held responsible for any mishaps related to road accidents due to faulty design, poor maintenance or construction.
- A time limit of 6 months to be adhered to, regarding compensations related to road accidents
- Liability caps are to be removed, which were introduced during the 2016 Bill (10 lacs INR for death and 5 lacs INR for grievous injuries)
- Driving license can be renewed up to one year before or after the expiry date, as compared to the existing one-month limit.
- Vehicles using substandard components can be recalled by the government and the manufactures can be fined up to Rs. 500 crore INR
How transport automation providers can helpNow, if we look at how transport automation providers can tackle these changes:
- Most transport solution providers have a drivers’ module integrated with their software, which makes registering their Aadhaar card, driving license and other documents very easy.
- Moreover, a trigger can be set up such that if the license or validity of some other essential document is about to expire, it will notify both the management admin and the driver.
- On the other aspects, while it is the sole responsibility of the driver to ensure not to involve in drunk driving, talking on phone while driving, etc., a transport monitoring solution can provide certain details to the transport admin team on cases of over-speeding, accident, rash or zigzag driving (caused due to DUI) in real-time, so they can take immediate action on the same.
- To elaborate, the affected vehicle will often show up in red on the system if drivers are not following certain rules, or an SOS alert will be sent to the admin team in case of any mishap. This not only ensures the prevention of most accidents but also gives the students/employees a sense of trust and security whenever they are using your transport.
Traditionally, a GPS tracker's backup power-management system for batteries consisted of multiple ICs (Integrated Circuits), a high-voltage buck regulator, a battery charger, plus a set of discrete components. Hence, earlier tracking systems were not very compact in their form factor. A typical application for a tracking system uses an automotive battery and a single-cell Li-ion battery for storage and backup.The vehicle GPS tracking is a terrific service when operating correctly. Even if a car gets stolen and taken to get parted out, and in the process the car battery gets disconnected, the GPS tracker backup battery will kick in and the user will be able to communicate with the vehicle and get the exact location. That is why having a GPS tracker with a backup battery is so important. Also, battery power is required, as much as the backup capability to preserve data in case of power loss. Due to the higher automotive system voltages and currents required to charge the battery (typically a single-cell Li-ion), a switch-mode charger is desirable for its higher charging efficiency when compared to a linear battery charging IC, since it generates less heat in the form of power dissipation.The device can be directly connected to the vehicle circuit for power. The internal battery is supposed to use as a backup source when there is no direct battery connected like in the event of theft when wires are disconnected. The average working time of a regular available internal battery is 4-7 hours. The devices consume less power themselves and thus do not affect the performance of the vehicle battery. The advantage that the user gets is the ability to access the location and controls, even if the device is disconnected from the main source.
PS data is a collection of objects whose location changes with time while in motion. We can get the GPS to co-ordinate data in each second to be sent to the server for the precision in tracking. For this, the device should have reliable network connectivity to be able to send accurate location information. The most common practice is to use a data subscription in 2G/4G mobile networks.Most dedicated GPS devices include a mobile data module that uses a standard SIM (Subscriber Identification Module) card. This SIM card allows the device to send the location packets, sending emergency SMS (Short Message Service), and read the SMS which comes to the device. This type of SMS can be classified as control SMS or configuration SMS. Using the control SMS, the user can control entire vehicle features like an immobilizer, etc. The main challenge is to get a proper network coverage during the travel in remote areas. Normally the GPS devices come with a SIM slot where we can insert a SIM of our choice. Nowadays the devices have multiple sim card options that switch between each other according to the signal strength providing redundancy and better signal strength at all times.
Normally the GPS device is placed over the dashboard in most of the vehicles, to provide maximum sky visibility for greater signal strength. Proper visibility provides GPS access all the time to the device. The challenge here is that whenever the vehicle goes for the water service, there is a chance for the GPS device to get water damaged. Since it is an electronic device even a drop of water can damage the entire board.The only option to overcome this problem is to make the device water resistant. We could get away from this challenge by providing the waterproof casing for the normal devices and the all-new AIS 140 devices are IP 67 (IP 67 means the unit can be dropped into a body of water up to a meter deep for half an hour and it is completely dust resistant). For old devices, we could overcome this challenge by providing the waterproof casing for the normal devices.
GPS Faulty Tracking
Another rare yet possible issue is when the recording of tracking is faulty, inaccurate, contains "bumps" or "bounces" or “jumps” when a part of tracking data is missing. All these issues are a result of the server receiving bad GPS data from the device – mobile phone or tablet. In all these cases, the server receives location data that does not accurately represent the device location. Bad GPS data can result in missing of live tracking or inaccuracies in the calculation of distance travelled for billing e.g. extra distance recorded or recorded inaccurately, inaccurate elevation values, etc.Reasons and effects of this are quite obvious - the device may have simply lost a connection to GPS satellites and did not record any data; the recorded route shows straight lines ignoring paths or roads on the map. It may also be that the device may have recorded track points that deviate from the intended correct path. GPS devices and satellites communicate with extremely fast signals requiring precise detection and any slight inaccuracy in the signal's reception, or disturbance to the signal itself can translate into a significant error in the reported position. Environmental factors such as dense trees, steep hillsides, tall buildings, basement parking, etc. can adversely impact GPS signal between the device and the satellites.In order to avoid this, we need to use a hi-tech device that can communicate with all available positioning networks – GPS, Glonass, Beidou, and Galileo. The more satellites visible for our device above our head, the more accurate is the positioning. We need to make sure our device is mounted/carried as high up and unobstructed as possible, instead of being buried deep in an inaccessible place. We always must find a compromise between smoothness and accuracy of the recording. We should not set up too short intervals (too much data with a higher risk of deviations). On the other hand, too long intervals would result in an approximation of tracking results.
#1 Ghaziabad: Girl ‘sexually harassed’ in school bus, class XI boy gets bail (The Indian Express, 18th Dec 2017)#2 CBSE Circular Subject ‘Safety of school children in school bus)#3 No CCTV cams in most school buses (Times of India, 18th Dec 2017)
- We are noticing significant deterioration in the performance of 2G networks especially 2G data being given low priority prevent availability of information in real-time. This is across all Telco providers in India. Even SOS situations, in case of people logistics may not be addressed in real-time. Help may not be available in real-time in vehicles that have GPS and SOS button deployed. Whilst all statutory authorities are making GPS mandatory, none of them seem to worry or address this issue
- The cost of a 2G Data only plan is presently less than Rs 50 per month. This plan also provides for 100 SMS which are used to communicate with the devices. The cost of a 4G plan (pure data plans are not available) is upwards of Rs 150 per month. In other words, SIM monthly charges are going to go up by 300%.
- Do not expect the SIM costs to go down as all the TELCO have bought their licenses at huge cost and have to make a reasonable return on their capital.
- The cost of a plain vanilla 2G GPS tracker manufactured in India is around Rs 2,000/- per device (local manufacturers such as Autocop). Imported Chinese Devices are available around Rs 2500 and High-quality devices from China and Israel are available at over Rs 3200. Thanks to the rapid dollar rise against the rupees, the costs are expected to go up by 15% soon.
- Against the above, the cost of 4G/Wifi GPS trackers are upwards of Rs. 10,000 /- per device. We expect the costs to increase by 300% on account of this. The high cost of these devices increase instances of theft of these devices
- Exposure to huge risks including criminal in nature if SIM cards are misused by drivers for illegal activities. We have experienced several times drivers taking the SIM card out of GPS devices only to realize the data rates are unusable for them to enjoy unlimited high bandwidth at the cost of fleet owners/device service providers. 4G SIM cards are extremely valuable and is liquid currency for the drivers. With stringent cyber laws, Fleet owners run the risk of being booked for various offences if the driver watches inappropriate child videos by stealing the SIM. It would be arduous for the owners to prove their innocence and get out of the mess. SIM locking will become mandatory to protect the interest of the SIM Card owners.
- Several discussions can be found on Phone Vs GPS and using the driver phone as a primary IOT device for Location Based Services. This works very well when the Phone is the source of income for the driver and not otherwise when it is a part of the process that monitors his own performance. Most importantly, a mobile phone provides 100s of other services that we do not need for IOT logistics and hence power consumption in the vehicle can be managed exceptionally well when the need to manage vehicles on 24/7 basis even when they are not in use.
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