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[January 22, 2014]
No takers for GPS to track drivers [Times of Oman]
(Times of Oman Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Muscat: The horrific Pakistan school bus crash could have been averted, had the driver tracking system been in place, claimed an innovator who has developed a tracking system based on GPS and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology.
Under this system, a safety alert can be sent to the administrator of the school whenever the driver over-speeds or takes a harsh turn with school children on board.
And if there is an emergency, this system automatically calls three people and this could be Ambulance, Royal Oman Police or the school management who can rush help immediately. However, there are no takers for this device in the schools of Oman.
"When we introduced the concept in Oman, we received a great response, but when it came to the implementation stage, schools started referring us to the transporters because most of the schools don't provide their own transport. When we met the transporters, they raised concerns about rising costs," said Shiv Gupta, director of operations, Muscat International, who had developed this driver tracking system.
In Muscat, transporters came up with concerns like parents haggling for every single Omani rial.
"They talk about it whenever there is an issue and they quickly forget about it. Some time back, there was an accident in Indian School Seeb bus in which a child had died. This accident happened due to overspeeding. As a father of a five-year-old kid, I am deeply concerned and ready to do whatever is possible, leaving any financial benefits apart," he claimed.
Regarding the cause of yesterday's accident, he said that there could be many possibilities but there are some common issues which may have caused it. Among these could be over speeding, reckless driving, driver using mobile for calls or texting in which case he may have missed the parked vehicle.
"These are the most common factors that may cause accidents. The system which we introduced is known for such alerts. Most importantly, our system identifies good drivers and rash drivers based on their day-to-day observation," he added.
For anxious parents, it helps in tracking the vehicles and ensures the safety of their children.
"It is a tracking unit that remains hidden in the bus. All that is needed is setting up the initial routes and mapping the mobile numbers of the parents for the device to work. The idea struck us after we saw anxious parents waiting for school buses. On many occasions, some of them would be making desperate calls to the school authorities to find out when the school bus had left and why it had not reached its destination yet," he said.
Then a team got together to devise a parental alert system to help parents figure out if the school buses were running on time. "Those connected to the device can even get a notification through SMS when the bus is about to reach the designated stop. It can also send a notification in case of a breakdown or an accident. Parents and school authorities can also visit the school website (or can install mobile apps) to see the live location of the bus and if it is moving at the right speed, thus ensuring better safety of the children," he added.
This technology is based on GPS+RFID system. The child will carry passive tags which can work as their ID cards, too. The system can be introduced at an affordable cost.
A live demonstration of the 'Student tracking system' was organised for all interested schools at Sultan School, Al Khoud on April 30.
"About 30 schools attended the meeting but sadly no school implemented this," he added.
(c) 2014 Muscat Press and Publishing House SAOC Provided by Syndigate.info, an Albawaba.com company
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