Bluetooth-Based “Bus Capacity Detector” Opens Tests in Tochigi, Japan

Bluetooth-Based _Bus Capacity Detector_ Opens Tests in Tochigi, Japan

In a partnership between Navitime Japan, Kanto Transportation Inc., and Michinori Holdings Inc., a new system for testing public bus passenger capacity on the road will be tested.

The system will be based on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), and slated to be a proof-of-concept demo for an actual upcoming application.

Each bus will be using one unit, and in theory, the calculated Bluetooth signals inside the vehicle would more or less determine how congested the bus is at that moment.

Aside from providing numerical values, the system would also offer color-coded assessments based on how it calculates the presence of a Bluetooth signal

  • A blue signal on the bus corresponds to the availability of an empty seat.
  • A yellow signal indicates the presence of standing passengers.
  • A red signal shows that the particular bus has many standing passengers and may well be congested or completely full.

The test will be conducted in Utsunomiya City, in Tochigi prefercture, and will begin from January 13th to February 11th:

  • Three buses running the standard passenger routes around Kawada and Enoshima will be installed with the customized smartphone. Aside from the smartphone itself, the buses will also be installed with cameras to get direct comparative data. This will then be used to assess the (relative) accuracy of the system.

Ideally, the app connected to this system will allow users to check online if an oncoming bus in their area would be vacant enough to ride. But as one might have noticed already, this test rides on the fact that passengers would at least have a Bluetooth device of some sort, if not carrying a smartphone. The efficiency also comes into question when we think about users who have their Bluetooth feature turned off when riding.

Then again, this is Japan, so the fact that this test has been approved means that there must be a stable mobile device environment within the urban areas of the chosen location. At least enough, that the problem does not lie on the actual number of Bluetooth device users, but on the sensor data’s accuracy.

As for the future outlook of this system, Navitime Japan hopes that it will generate bus passenger data, which can then be offered to other companies that might be interested in it. The included transportation organizations are also looking forward to the fact that it is a low profile system. It does not require specific hardware or any exclusive installations, as it is just a customized smartphone with no other peripherals.

Source: PR TIMES

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