Vizag startup develops software for safe travel

SAFETY FIRST:The team of Ananas Software, who will be launching the software iTravelSafe with an aim to make bus travel safer and comfortable.-Photo : K.R. DEEPAK  

The inter-city bus travel segment is in top gear in India and tech startups are keenly eyeing this space to revolutionise this sector by making bus travel much safer and comfortable.

With an aim to plug the gaps for the passengers and transport companies in areas of safety, time efficiency and security, Visakhapatnam-based startup Ananas Software has developed a software iTravelSafe that will soon hit the market.

Real-time bus location

Founded by a young team of Fasiuddin Mohammad, Vinod Varma and Siva Sagar in October last year, the startup is working towards providing a series of technology-based services such as real-time bus location tracking through app and customer support, SMS service, anti-theft protection, automatic and manual SOS trigger, route monitoring through geo-fencing, remote navigation assistance, luggage tagging system and 24x7 helpdesk support.

According to industry reports, there are over 2,500 bus operators in India who operate more than 1.5 million buses on over 70,000 routes. In Andhra Pradesh alone, seven new bus operators have entered the market in one year.

Prototype phase

“Our market research on bus travel brought to the fore two recurring questions - Are we travelling safely? Are we giving enough importance to comfort? We found there is a huge potential to integrate technology with bus travel in order to make it safe. The idea behind iTravelSafe was to address this issue. We are currently in the prototype phase and plan to launch the software in the market in a month’s time,” Vinod Varma, one of the founders of the startup, told The Hindu . The startup that is at present incubated at Startup Accelerator India plans to raise Rs. 85 lakh in the first year and launch in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in a month’s time before spreading their wings pan India. The software will be integrated in the GPS device fitted in the bus where operators can track real-time updates and monitor areas such as harsh breaking, speed of the bus, mileage and also provide remote navigation assistance to bus drivers.

Women’s safety

The iTravelSafe app, apart from providing real-time updates of the bus’ location to travellers, will help enable travellers to rate the driver’s behaviour. One of the key features of the app is the women’s safety segment.

“To prioritize women’s safety, our technology identifies the traveller’s gender as soon as they book or take a seat. To ease things up, our app can identify toilets that are safe for women on a given route. These toilets are then automatically shown on the driver or operator’s end so that they can effectively assist women travellers on board. The other special feature is the ‘Food on Board’ facility where travellers can pre-book meals to be delivered at designated stops.

Open source

On how the startup will be different than bigger players such as Red Bus, the team said, “We are an open source service provider and will directly tie-up with bus operators. Irrespective of whichever travel portal you book your bus tickets from, you can utilise our services.” They also plan to extend their services to school buses and logistics firms with customised features.

Startup to extend their customised services to school buses and logistics firms

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