Vellore: In 2009, while travelling alone from Vellore to her hometown Hyderabad, Srisudha Garimella, an M S Software Engineering student of VIT University, Vellore, faced problems in tracking her destination. The route was dark with no lights and the on/off connectivity on the GPRS made them worse.
After having faced a similar issue, Srilavanya Paleti, another MS Software Engineering student of VIT University teamed up with Srisudha Garimella to work on an application that solved problems for travellers.
After two years of dedicated work, they presented their application on 'In-Vehicle Networking Based Services' to experts in India and the US and much to their joy, their application has got a US patent granted the first-of-a-kind for this technology.
"We did our project under the guidance of Dr. K. Ganesan, Director, TIFAC-CORE, VIT University and submitted our work for an US Patent, on Aug. 5, 2014, our work on 'In-Vehicle Networking Based Services' was issued an US Patent," says an elated Srilavanya.
The application, she adds, provides a cost effective valued added service to customers (read passengers) who are travelling in ships /trains / buses wherein access to Internet is expensive or not possible.
According to Dr. K. Ganesan, "The invention basically creates a social networking among the passengers who are traveling in a vehicle using wireless technologies (such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, SMS) and mobile technologies and provide free useful services."
Srisudha explains further. "We have built a hardware comprising of GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth modules with necessary software. These units can be fixed at the top of each compartment of the train. The GPS antenna located outside the compartment roof will then provide the periodic location information. When people want to communicate across compartments, the Wi-Fi systems can be used," she says.
Within the compartment, passengers can communicate using the hardware via Bluetooth.
"When a passenger enters the train, he has to switch on the Bluetooth module on his mobile. A software will be automatically downloaded from the hardware unit located in the compartment and the passenger has to specify his destination station. The hardware unit will note down the passenger mobile number and his destination in its memory. All the proposed services are offered until the passenger’s station arrives," adds Srilavanya.
The application offers seven major value added services.
Srisudha says, "When we are travelling in a train/bus, generally the audio announcement system or display system lets the passenger to know about the approaching station. But during the night we cannot use either of these systems. In the proposed system, a sleeping passenger gets an alert (vibration or audio playing) on his mobile only when his destination station is about to arrive. Other passengers of the compartment whose destinations are different are not disturbed. Moreover even if the train runs late, the passenger(s) need not wake up early."
Another feature offered through in-vehicle network is "in several long distance trains, we have pantry car wherein food is cooked and sold to passengers via helpers. In the proposed system, the pantry system can be automated. The available cooked items are announced for the passengers via their mobile phone using the in-vehicle network created. Interested passengers can then order through their mobile. Thus wastage of food and manpower used in selling the items can be reduced," says Srisudha, 26, who is currently
working as a senior developer with Sapient Pvt Ltd, a leading multinational corporation in Bengaluru.
Passengers travelling in the train can also form a social network and play many multi-player games. "In case of emergency, a passenger will know where the nearest doctor is available within the train. Passengers who are travelling in the train can also publish their request for sharing hotel accommodation or a taxi/auto. Even books and magazines can be circulated to passengers on rental basis and the same can be tracked and collected efficiently," says Srilavanya, 26, who is currently working with Schneider Electrics, Bengaluru.
Dr Ganesan says, "At this juncture, VIT University would like to congratulate the students. We also would take this opportunity to thank our VIT management and all the higher ups for providing necessary financial support in completing this work successfully."
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