What is the Government Order?

The government order stipulating mandatory use of GPS device with panic buttons in all school bus is expected to be sent out to all RTO’s in Kerala by mid July. The order is still not out, however it is expected to enforce every school bus to have a GPS device, a specific device that has been manufactured as per the Automotive Industry Standard (AIS) no. 140.

WHAT IS AIS 140?

Automobile Research Association of India (ARAI) sets standards for vehicles to ply on Indian roads. AIS 140 is a standard that details about ITS – Intelligent Transportation System, with specific focus on Vehicle tracking Systems. The standard specifies the details of a GPS device and emergency / panic buttons

Does an AIS 140 have any extra specification from a normal standard GPS?

AIS 140 device has a major difference with existing GPS devices. All existing devices send their position information using Latitude and Longitude to a particular (single) server. This is sent using a SIM card by any one operator. This information is then plotted onto a map and that is how an user can see the vehicle live, moving on a map.

AIS 140 devices also send Latitude and Longitude, however, it send to three servers; the Govt,’s Command and Control Centre, the SOS server used by the police and to the school’s own server. The SIM used inside an AIS 140 device is an embedded SIM and work using two networks, BSNL and a private operator. The embedded SIM is the same SIM used in card swipe machines found in supermarkets or restaurants.

What are the devices mandatory for a school bus as per Kerala Motor Vehicle Department?

The mandatory devices as per KMVD include an AIS 140 GPS Device and four panic buttons

What are the particular benefits for schools and parents by using AIS 140 Device?

The benefits for the school and parents are:

For Schools;

  1. Control over movement of their asset; the school bus, thereby helping restrict unwanted use
  2. Security and safety of their school children
  3. Live monitoring of the school bus by the local police station to deter any wrong-doing by drivers and Ayahs (Attenders) on the bus
  4. Ability for fire, police and ambulance personnel to respond immediately to any school bus accident thereby perhaps helping save lives

For Parents;

  1. Ability to track theie child’s school bus on a map on their mobile and help them plan time of boarding
  2. Ability to receive notifications two stops before the school bus reaches their child’s bus stop
  3. Ability to drop their child at any stop before or after if they are unable to make it to their child’s stop on time
  4. Ability to receive notifications about their child’s attendance when children get into and out off their school bus

Can schools use any AIS 140 Device?

Schools can use any AIS 140 Device that has been certified by the particular State Government or local RTO

Name some companies with AIS 140 ARIA Certification? What is their main business?

There are about 17 devices of 12 manufacturers certified by ARAI and 11 devices of 7 manufacturers. The links are below:

PDF – 1

PDF – 2

You may check out their main business from their web page.

What could be the price range of the AIS 140 device?

The MRP of AIS 140 devices are between the price range of Rs.10000 – Rs. 15000. The selling price is expected to be between Rs.7500 – Rs.8000

The MRP of a single panic button is proposed between Rs.350 – Rs.600. The expected selling price is between Rs.275 – Rs.375 for the base panic button

What about device installation? Is there a cost for installing devices?

Device installation is going to be the key concern for manufacturers and schools. There is a shortage of qualifies technicians to install these devices. Manufacturers are training technicians who are attached to dealers to learn the installation process.

Device installation is expected to take about 2 – 3 hours per bus and would cost approximately between Rs.450 – Rs.600 per bus plus costs towards wiring harness which will be additional

What about software to monitor school buses? Is it included in the government order? Is it free?

Tracking software is available with all manufacturers but at an extra cost, ranging from Rs.175 / bus / month to Rs.1500/bus / year. The software does not include mobile Apps for Parents.

As an introductory gesture, Kinder Bus offer the tracking software free to schools. Our software will help you track all your school buses for free. We also offer a free Parent Mobile App for parents to track their child’s bus and the offer is valid for the rest of the school year.

Does the software have a parent mobile application? How can parents view their child’s bus? Is this included and is it free?

No, the tracking software provided by manufacturers does not have a parent App. For parents to view their child’s bus, an exclusive Application needs to be installed.

The application provided by manufacturer’s is not free and this is where Kinder Bus comes in!

Does Kinder Bus offer its tracking platform with Parent Mobile App free to schools without any caveat?

Yes, Kinder Bus offers its tracking platform FREE. For the Parent Mobile App, we have two plans; Paid Tracking App and Free Tracking App

Does Kinder Bus offer any FREE DEVICE PLAN?

Yes, Kinder Bus offers a FREE DEVICE PLAN wherein Kinder Bus will provide the AIS 140 Device with tracking software and the Parent Mobile App as a single product for the school. The school needs to pay only a small subscription fee per student.

The only other cost will be the installation cost.

What about notifications and SMS alerts? Does Kinder Bus include all costs towards notification and alerts in its FREE App plan?

No, the FREE App plan only includes tracking, wherein parents can see their child’s bus moving towards home or school as the case may be. If schools & parents need notifications, this would require an addittional device, an RFID Reader to be installed in each bus. Kinder Bus provides a subscription model notification and alerts plan which includes FREE RFID Device and includes SMS alerts at a nominal fee of about Rs.1/50 per child / day.

What buying model to go for; outright purchase, subscription model; pros and cons of both

The best buying model would depend on many factors including no of buses, type of market the school caters to and the resources available.

Outright Purchase – Pros

  • For schools with less than 5 buses an outright purchase would be the ideal option along with Kinder Bus Free Tracking Software. The total amount would be less than Rs.40000 and you also get to view and monitor using our FREE software
  • For schools between 6 – 25 buses, it would be sensible to go in for a subscription model since it would mean less initial investment with extended three year warranty. For such schools, opting for the FREE DEVICE plan, which means no investment other than installation costs would be the best plan
  • For schools with 25 – 50 buses, outright purchase would be the best bet for the first year with the FREE tracking software and FREE Parent App. The following year these schools could upgrade to Paid notification plans or go in for even a buy-back plan with Kinder Bus

Who should the school contact regarding buying AIS 140 Devices?

KMVD is expected to update all RTO’s with a list of certified manufacturers and their franchisees. Ideally its best to talk to the franchisees directly.

Always take a few quotes but choose manufacturers with background in GPS device manufacturing. Also look for extended FREE warranty since devices have a shelf life of usually only one year.

Are the AIS 140 Device franchisees also empaneled by KMVD?

The latest rumour states that KMVD will inspect and certify franchisees of each manufacturer to ensure franchisees are capable of installing AIS 140 devices.

However, please do be ready for issues regarding device life and installation, which is why, it is paramount that schools choose manufacturers who have a background in the GPS device manufacturing space.

How do we know which manufacturer has background in GPS device manufacturing?

That’s a research we wont be able to help you with and which you would need to do on your own. Some points to consider while choosing who to go with.

  • However, some manufacturers will provide you client references and that could be a starting point.
  • Some manufacturers procure GPS devices from China, put their name on the same, change the firmware to meet Govt. regulations and sell mentioning their technology.
  • Manufacturers with a reputed clientele will be able to provide references and use client logos on their website

Why should we prefer to buy from manufacturers with a background and reputed clientele in the GPS business?

Two reasons:

  • GPS Devices are fitted onto your school bus and will go through extreme use; fluctuating power from your bus, repeated jolts, shake, wear and tear and heat. Manufacturers who have a background in this business would have the expertise and experience of having solved the most difficult problems and having created a device that will last a long time. Remember, after a year, if a device breaks down, you would need to replace the same too as per Govt. regulations and that means extra costs.
  • Manufacturer’s with a reputed clientele are very concerned about their brand. With the rise in social media, any device defect will be shouted out loud so such manufacturers will ensure next to nil issues with their devices.

The defect ration in general is between .99% in 1000 devices.