According to a mandate approved by the Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways, all public transport vehicles will have to be fitted with VLTs (vehicle location tracking) and panic buttons starting 1 January 2019. The new Motor Vehicles (Vehicle Location Tracking Device and Emergency Button) Order, 2018 will apply to all public transport vehicles that come under the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, which means auto rickshaws and e-rickshaws will be exempted. The rule will apply to vehicles registered on or after 1 January.
At the start of this fiscal year, a new regulation was put in place - the AIS140 - under which a vehicle location tracking (VLT) device and one or more emergency buttons have to be installed on all public transport vehicles.
Unlimit, founded under the Reliance ADA Group in 2016, will be assisting the government in updating public service vehicles to AIS140 standards. The company offers IoT services ranging from managed connectivity to device management and application software to analytics.
To understand more about the upcoming government mandate, which will include VLT and panic button installation in over 198 lakh public service vehicles, we got in a conversation with the head honchos at Unlimit.
Jürgen Hase, CEO, Unlimit, Bijal Parekh, Head of Technology Planning and R&D, Unlimit, Sumit Monga, Head of Government Affairs, Unlimit, and Neeraj Sangani, Marketing Head, Unlimit gave us some insights on how prepared India's transport system is to upgrade to global standards and how passengers will benefit from it.
Have some of the vehicles been updated to AIS140 compliance?
All public transport vehicles like public buses, taxies, educational institution buses registered on or after 1 January will have to comply with AIS140 and be installed with VLT and panic buttons. For now, the ecosystem around IoT application in the automotive industry has evolved. The device ecosystem, backend and servers that service the panic button and other such requirements have already been fulfilled. There is ample demand for VLTs in the market.
How can an existing public transport vehicle be updated to AIS140?
There are several alternatives for updating existing vehicles with AIS140 compliance devices. A vehicle owner can have it updated with the OEM, an aftermarket device vendor, or the transport & logistics company the vehicle is listed with.
How does tracking of vehicles happen? Who handles it?
The tracking of the vehicles installed with VLT devices will be handled by the state governments. Each State will set up an operation centre, and the information generated when the panic button is pressed will be transmitted to these operation centres directly.
How does the end consumer benefit from VLT & panic buttons?
AIS 140 standards have been designed to ensure the safety and security of women, students and other travellers, respond to emergencies and medical needs, along with curbing speeding. While passengers travelling alone will be content to know that their vehicle is being tracked and there is a panic button to rely on in case a situation goes haywire, the system will also help the drivers of these public service vehicles.
In case of an accident, instead of calling the emergency services and explaining the location to them over the phone, the driver/occupant can transmit the vehicle's location directly to the emergency response team by a push of a button. The system will also prove beneficial in tough situations during natural disasters.