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Artificial Intelligence in School Bus – A Comprehensive Guide

Monday September 3, 2018

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You will agree with the fact that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the catchphrase which is attracting the attention of people operating in different spheres. Now, AI is also making its strong presence felt in the field of school transportation.

You might be wondering the role of AI in this territory concerning the pickup and dropping of school students at their designated stops.

For every one of you to make the most of the state-of-the-art technology aptly coined with the AI title, here is an all-in-one guide. Reading this will help you understand the numerous ways in which AI can simplify the school bus fleet operations.

What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial Intelligence, true to its name is a technology that is meant to simplify the lives of humans in more ways than you can imagine. It is a technique by which you can allow your routine operations to be controlled by AI-supported computers.

To sum it all, AI allows machines to think and act on their own, just as human do. Human intelligence takes the form of instructions that are given to these machines. They will then be transformed into artificially intelligent systems that can act on their own.

If you are curious to know about the different ways in which AI-powered systems operate, it will take you by surprise that such machines can plan, learn, demonstrate reasoning abilities, solve problems, show up various perceptions and provide creative solutions.

Not leaving the various demands of school transportation behind, TrackSchoolBus makes the most of AI features to provide a host of benefits to the stakeholders.  Let us now move on to understand the various ways in which TrackSchoolBus relies on AI in supporting the various needs of school buses.

What are its main features?

What do you expect from a school bus transportation system which is powered by Artificial Intelligence? You will expect it to seamlessly provide all the solutions to various concerns of school transportation alongside strengthening the security of school students.

And AI does exactly the same. It is through an in-built AI technology that TrackSchoolBus automates the three most important subjects concerning school transportation.

They are: Auto Allocation, Auto Optimization and Auto Routing.

Let us now examine all these 3 features in detail.

  1. Auto Allocation:

True to its name, auto allocation is an AI-powered feature that helps fleet managers allocate vehicles on different school routes. AI steps in by providing the much-needed data point which is the optimum capacity of every school bus route. There may be some routes which demand a couple of trips and there may be others which are less populated. In such cases, an auto allocation enables transport managers to optimally allocate a particular bus to a particular school bus route.

  1. Auto Optimization:

Moving on to the next AI feature that helps school districts is about the preparedness to initiate a sudden change in route. This feature serves two basic necessities. One being the route optimization and the other is the pickup optimization.

Speaking of route optimization, it is through this feature that fleet managers can effortlessly manage and juggle with multiple pickup points that should be covered in a single bus route. In the event a student needs to be picked up somewhere between two pickup points, a provision can be made. Route optimization also helps the school bus to take the shortest route to a destination.

Moving on to pick up optimization, you will be in a comfortable position to come up with an exact pickup point for a student that is in line with the historical data and the assigned points.

AI helps fleet managers rise to the occasion of a change in the pickup point so that they can make timely changes to the school bus route. That means, it is through AI that school bus managers can optimize their routes taking into account a sudden change in the pickup point while the bus is in motion.

  1. Auto Routing:

TrackSchoolBus relies on a smart Auto Routing algorithm that enables fleet managers to come up with the most cost and time-effective route. Here, the existing data points consisting of drop and pickup points that are generated by AI serve as pointers to alter a particular school bus route.

What are its advantages?

For you to understand the benefits of AI to the field of school transportation, you need to give a closer look at the three automated features, individually.

Advantages of Auto Allocation Feature

  1.  AI will help fleet managers to assign the correct pickup point which is established on the basis of the current residential address of students.
  2. If any change in the route, auto allocation helps transport managers to redo the auto routing plan while effectively performing all the activities of auto routing.
  3. All thanks to Artificial Intelligence, you now have a system that takes care of all the school bus routes, pickup points and vehicle assignments. You need to simply provide pertinent details concerning the trip and residential address and AI does its job, automatically performing all the above activities.  
  4. Both parents and school bus drivers will be informed about the pickup point of students as location indicates on Google Maps.
  5. AI simplifies the job of a transport manager allowing him to chalk out a route in a jiffy. He does not have to worry about the number of pickup points or the strength of students. AI does all the spade work necessary and suggests an optimal route which saves a lot of time and cost.
  6. As an attractive incentive to prospective schools, TrackSchoolBus offers free auto allocation trials. Depending on their satisfaction levels, schools can opt for this time-saving and efficient AI-powered auto allocation feature.

Advantages of Auto Optimization Feature:

  1. You just need two data points to implement the auto optimization feature and they are the starting point and the ending point. Due to this feature, school bus routes are optimized automatically and are AI-inbuilt.
  2. It is through this AI-powered feature that fleet managers can continuously and diligently monitor any change in pickup points. They will get all the help needed to assign pickup points by relying on the actual location of the student.
  3. You can also immediately get information about the best possible road that is free from traffic jams. Through this auto optimization feature, transport managers can not only reduce the travel time but also bring down fuel bills to a considerable extent. 
  4. If any relocation, you can effortlessly update the pickup point that will be intimated to everyone concerned.
  5. With this, fuel and fleet maintenance bills can be reduced. In turn, you can also reduce the wear and tear of your fleet when you avoid the instances of unnecessary travel, covering long distances.

Advantages of Auto Routing Feature

  1. This help transport managers to decide which route to take, which trip to start and which vehicle will meet the capacity requirements of a particular route.
  2. Fleet managers can perform regular checks to assess the efficiency of their current school bus routes.
  3. It is through this AI-powered feature that you can optimize many elements of school transportation including durability of the vehicle, usage of vehicle on a daily basis along with running time and the total distance covered per day.
  4. Since this feature takes the vehicle details as an important data point, you can match your requirements based on the number of students at a particular pickup point, the total seating capacity of a school bus and the shift that a particular driver is filling in for.
  5. In addition to cut down the costs to run the school bus fleet, AI helps to save the vehicle running hours through optimized vehicle assignments.

How will AI change the management of school buses?

It is indeed a very difficult task for transport managers to come up with the most befitting route for a school bus trip. However, they need not fret as they can now make the most of modern technological advancements coming in the form of Artificial Intelligence. Modern technology now steps in to provide the much-needed support to transport managers to effectively manage the school bus fleets.

Let us now check out the various ways in which AI helps transport managers to deliver their responsibilities in the most efficient manner.

AI Solves School Bus Routing Issues

AI is now being considered the most viable option to address many concerns revolving around school bus routing. When AI comes into the picture, a host of user-friendly and affordable apps are available to all the stakeholders concerned about the safety and convenience of students. With AI by your side, school bus tracking apps loaded with modern features including auto routing, auto optimization and auto allocation can be put to use.

Let us look at these 3 features which have a major role in the effective management of school buses.

Auto Routing Helps to Operate an Optimized School Bus Route at All Times

By now you have understood the advantages you can derive out of TrackSchoolBus’ auto routing feature. This feature collates pertinent information concerning school bus routes, pickup and drop points, student profiles from historical transportation records, vehicle assignments and seating capacities of school buses. Taking all these important data points into consideration, the auto routing feature automatically suggests an optimized route supported by other details linked to vehicle assignments and trips.

Having an eye fixed on these parameters will automatically put you in complete control over the running hours of every school bus and the fuel and vehicle maintenance cost that is incurred on every vehicle.

To sum it all, below is the rundown of the various ways in which auto routing helps in the management of school bus fleets.

  • Come up with the most appropriate school bus route for every trip
  • Cut down the vehicle running time, in turn leading to the fall in operating costs of school buses
  • Regular checks on the effectiveness of every school bus route can be performed
  • School bus operators can effortlessly chalk out optimized routes and school bus trips considering data points like pickup point density, the bus seating capacity and the school timings

Auto Allocation – Another AI-Powered Offering of TrackSchoolBus

To activate the AI-powered auto allocation feature, you need to collate student information which comes in the form of vehicle information and their designated pickup and drop point details. Here are the evident ways in which auto allocation helps transport managers perform their duties in the most efficient manner.

  • Transport managers can effectively complete all the techniques concerning auto routing
  • They can select the pickup point by considering the residential addresses of students
  • AI steps in to display the pickup point of every student as a location on the Google Maps
  • School bus operators can optimize the pickup point by referencing it with the historical data that is stored on the system

Auto Optimization Enables the Optimum Utilization of School Buses

Meant to address two important sub-processes, auto optimization helps transport managers come up with: a) an optimized route b) an optimized pickup point. Collectively, this feature enables school bus operators to optimize the utilization of school bus in the following ways:

  • Suggests the most befitting and efficient route, thereby saving the drivers’ time and efforts
  • By plying on an effective route, you will be in a strong position to cut down vehicle maintenance costs and the running time of school buses
  • It help to reduce fuel consumption
  • Apart from preventing the haphazard movement of school buses, the auto optimization feature improves the durability of your fleet
  • While AI suggests a road with less traffic, it will also come up with the shortest route which cuts down the vehicle running time
  • The efficiency of pickup points can be improved by coordinating the efforts of school bus operators and transportation authorities
  • Along with a facility to update and alter pickup points, AI helps in the modification of school bus routes matching the seating capacity of school buses
  • A relocation can be addressed by the re-center facility, a feature that allows you to immediately alter and update the pickup point
  • School bus operators can effortlessly change the pickup point by taking the reference of the actual location
  • They can also make the necessary changes to the school bus route depending on how much students can be accommodated.

Conclusion

As a takeaway thought, AI through its effective features paves the way for an effective management of school bus fleet. Not only it helps school bus operators to come up with cost-effective and shorter bus routes, it will also improve the goodwill of every school.

Hence signing up for the AI-powered school bus transportation services of TrackSchoolBus will be an as an intelligent move for every school.

Schools which subscribe to these automated school bus management and tracking services are bound to take pride in their efforts to employ advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence.

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