Thursday, June 19, 2014

Getting an auto rickshaw at your doorstep!

This blog has discussed this issue earlier and has suggested a few related project ideas: 
The purpose of this posting today is to suggest a simple project you can implement in a day or two, excluding a few days of learning time if that is necessary in your case. I will describe it in the Indian context mentioning “autos”, that is auto rickshaws. Obviously it will work for a variety of vehicles such as cabs, and even the inter-city buses that wait for passengers!

The suggestion is this: Create a website at which auto drivers can register, giving their name, cell phone number and vehicle number. Later, they should be able to send a short message to a server, giving the location at which they are waiting for passengers. They should mention a clear landmark, for example: Lal bagh.

The site will display over the Web a table giving driver’s phone number and location giving city name as well. Any one requiring an auto could do a web search mentioning something like this:   Lal bagh
and select one of the displayed phone numbers. The rest of the work of contacting the driver and giving him the pickup address is left to the user. Later on one can add additional facilities like sending the user an SMS/email giving driver name and site registration number (SRN). In the rare event it is required, the police can use the SRN, contact the site and get driver’s license number, etc.

Remember – only the simplest ideas work first! You can of course write an App, but wait.Should you expect the auto driver to have 2G or 3G connectivity? Or should you try to build a system with an SMS interface? I suggest that you first focus on using a 2G/3G connection. Postpone your market expansion program for the present.

Srinivasan Ramani


Srinivasan Ramani said...

For an alternative solution to the same problem, visit
Find an Auto Online
Better still, try the system! On Webpage mentioned above, click on the text that says Find an Auto Online and fill up the form. The Website also gives you a phone number to call in Bangalore as an alternative way to get an auto. The Android App is mentioned as a third way of making a booking. I haven't tried any of the three options, but will try tomorrow. I am told that there is a ten rupee pick up charge you have to pay the driver over and above the basic charges shown by the rickshaw's meter. This seems reasonable to me!

The Auto is the National Vehicle of India!


Srinivasan Ramani said...

A logical development would be to automate the announcement of the rickshaw's location. This could done by electronics integrated into the rickshaw's meter. A message can be sent automatically to a server over the cell phone network as soon as the rickshaw's flag is put up by the driver to indicate he is ready to take the next passenger. This message will indicate the location of the rickshaw. The message need not be sent if the rickshaw is on the move, because the system is designed only to announce the location of rickshaws that are waiting for passengers at identifiable places, such as approved rickshaw stands.

Srinivasan Ramani