PEC University of Technology, Chandigarh and Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay have collaborated to work on a research project to devise a mobile application which will make public transportation systems easier for consumers by giving live updates about the current location of the buses.
The project is aimed towards developing a mobile application and static sensing technique, which will not only be able to determine the current location of a bus, but will also provide information about availability of seats in the bus and congestion on certain routes, explained Professor Divya Bansal, who is one of the principal investigators, along with Professor Bhaskaran Raman, Associate Professor, IIT-Bombay (IIT-B).
Headed by Professor Bansal, a team of ten students from various disciplines of engineering have been working on the project along with a team from IIT-B since September. Titled, ‘Communication Assisted Road Transportation Systems’, the project is based on intelligent transport systems (ITS), which refers to a host of techniques using sensors to alleviate road traffic congestion.
“Majority of the people own smartphones today, which have a plethora of sensors which can be used to learn users’ location and activity. For instance, GPS can be used to know a user’s position and accelerometer to know road congestion. Likewise, there is magnetometer, gyroscope and microphone. We have envisioned a scenario where we can intelligently know about road-related information from the data collected through these sensors,” explained Professor Bansal.
Elaborating on the research, Professor Bansal said, “If a user is on a specific bus, then we can obtain data from his smartphone about the traffic congestion on that route through data collected by sensors of the mobile which will capture the motion of the bus. This information can then be disseminated to other interested users via wireless interfaces like Wifi, Bluetooth, 3G and even mobile cloud infrastructure.”
Interestingly, the application will also be able to deduce if the bus is overcrowded. “That is another result we aim to achieve, by obtaining the data about the mobile traffic within a bus, since mobiles are receptive of each other. But, it involves a number of technical challenges, and we cannot be very sure of success,” Professor Bansal added.
“We will explore opportunities to collaborate with the IT department, the Transport department, and Chandigarh Administration as it will facilitate in understanding of transport problems of the city and help in validating our results by implementing the solution in real time,” Professor Bansal said.
With a research period of three years, the project is expected to get completed by September 2016 and will be implemented on transport systems of both Chandigarh and Mumbai.