Technology used in taxis in France

Use of digital platform and digital payment method

Taxi service is not what we normally associate with high technology. But now the technological development has changed that idea and the taxi industry have changed and have implemented the technological advances for its continuous improvement.

When the hands of a person touch for the first time a cell phone or a ‘tablet’, a series of steps are met during the first minutes after activating the ‘WI-Fi’ or the mobile data. The first thing most people do is to download the most common applications: social networks. Then, the ‘apps’ of photography, music and, since 2015, a transport technology platform is downloaded.

Having this mobile application has become one of the most important actions for French and foreigners in the country. Every year there are more users who join this technological innovation that has revolutionized the way people move from one place to another with the touch of a finger on a touch screen of a smartphone or tablet.

The way to order a taxi changed in the country some years ago. Some people have started to ignore outgoing calls from their phones to radio taxi companies.

With the arrival in the country of digital platforms (UBER and others) 4 years ago, French taxi companies began to oppose this new transport format. From those dates, the months and years passed and more French welcomed this modern resource.

As a result of this new way to get a private transport, a series of confrontations and marches were registered in the country, mainly in the tourism sector, by trade unionists and taxi drivers from most of France.

However, at the present days there is another perspective of this panorama. The private entities and taxi drivers have left aside the attitude of rejection to these new platforms. Several taxi companies have incorporated the use of mobile applications to continue offering their services from another angle.

Several French companies are already listed on the list of the virtual stores like Play Store of Android and Apps Store of IOS with their taxi-apps. These applications usually exceed the amount of 100,000 downloads, up to over 1,100,000 downloads as is the case of the company Lecap.

Virtual Taxi is the new tendency and the use of traditional taxi companies requires that the base be informed of the address in which the client is located, the house or building number and any point of reference. In response, the customer receives the characteristics of the vehicle, which is summarized in the color, number of the unit and an estimated time of arrival.Today, technology has simplified these steps. The applications automatically locate the person on the map. You just have to specify where you are going and, automatically, a route will be created by means of satellite ‘GPS’ location.

One of the benefits of this mode is that customers can see the location of the driver in real time on the map, communicate with him in case of need or emergency. They can also know their face, name, license and plate number, color and vehicle model before boarding the taxi.

drivers can also be able to ascertain the qualification they have as a driver, whether good or bad, they will observe the acknowledgments and evaluations that they have received from other clients. The time you have working in the company and the number of trips made.

“These new systems are safer than the traditional companies. You can see the route that the driver goes through, his name and, above all, specify the plate. That gives you the opportunity to make some kind of claim in case something happens, “says Patricia Ferreras, who normally uses Uber.

But the traditional companies are still given fighting as a form of adaptation to the new changes and demands of the market, independent taxi drivers and taxi companies have begun to use new technologies to respond to the needs of their users, especially the youngest population in the country.

Although the number of calls received daily confirms that the traditional companies still continues working and that there is a population that prefers to obtain this kind of service, technology continues to guide them in the current market.

Another interesting technology applied to the taxi industry is the Blockchain, the Blockchain implementations are spreading rapidly in all industries, the signs that technology will overtake the taxi industry are already clear. For an industry that has been continuously evolving over time and through the ages, moving to a new phase will not be a surprising development at all.

The use of Blockchain-based applications to manage local transport systems is a development that has come for a long time. It is likely that many taxi services based on Blockchain and tokenization will emerge. This is due in large part to the various benefits offered by Blockchain, especially in the area of ​​personal control and decentralization.

For example, imagine traveling to a new country where the local money is totally different from where you come from, and you need taxi services to take you from the airport to a hotel. The use of a service powered by Blockchain automatically eliminates the need for any form of money conversion since the value of the token remains the same and is available throughout the world.

The implementation of Blockchain will automatically enable a transparent industry; unfair unions and associations will no longer annul the will of taxi drivers and travelers. In contrast, anyone who has a Blockchain token will retain full control of all the benefits associated with such tokens, either by exchanging them for other tokens or money, or for paying taxi service.

Although they are still a bit improvable, the first initiatives are already starting to emerge in the form of applications that allow to know in real time the traffic situation in certain parts of the city.

We were speaking about how good the technology had make an impact in the taxi industry but we are forgotten that also exist disadvantages and we are going to show you the most important:

  1.    Most of the cab companies charge you for cancellation of taxi booking.
  2.    Cab drivers also have an option to cancel the ride, without a valid reason.
  3.    The number of promotional messages and spam e – mails increase.
  4.    Some such apps can also send the promotional message on behalf of you from your phone or tablet.

Use of GPS

Now that we finish with the app`s and digital money, we also have to talk about the GPS on the taxy industry, if you are a taxi owner or the manager of a taxi company, ask you this questions, do you really need a dedicated GPS vehicle tracking solution for your company? If you wish to improve the efficiency and safety of your vehicles, and have a passion to reach your customers more effectively and efficiently, then the answer is yes. Through GPS vehicle tracking solution, companies can keep a tab on their cars and their drivers, so that they can better manage them and serve their customers efficiently. It also helps reduce fuel waste, and improves maintenance practices.

GPS devices are mainly used by owner of car fleets to manage their pool of cars simultaneously and also keep a track on their driver’s and passenger’s activity as they make their journeys.

Passive Tracking – A passive GPS tracking system will monitor the location and will store its data on journeys based on certain type of events. For example, this kind of GPS system may store data as to where the vehicle has traveled in the past 12 or 24 hours. The data is usually stored in internal memory or on a memory card, which can later be downloaded to a computer for analysis. In some cases, the data can be downloaded automatically through wireless at predetermined points/times or can be requested at specific points during the journey.

Active Tracking – Also known as real-time tracking, this kind of GPS tracking system automatically sends the information to a central tracking portal or system in real-time as it happens. Active tracking is a better option for commercial purposes such as fleet tracking or monitoring of people, such as children or elderly by their caregivers. They keep notifying the caregivers with the location of their loved ones. They can monitor this data to see whether the loved are on their intended journey and whether they are reaching their destinations on time. This is also a useful way for a company to monitor the behavior of its employees as they carry out their work and of streamlining internal processes and procedures.

Core parts a typical GPS tracking system

Location hardware (or tracking device): This is a device that has a sim card inserted in it which helps it to communicate with the server over a cellular network, once in every 10 seconds.

Tracking software: This is the software that translates the data in readable and useful format. The software is the most crucial part because it communicates with the end user for him to take proper decisions. There are infinite ways to showcase the data to users, according to his need, preference and choice, so software becomes most important for both business and personal use.

Internal components of the GPS tracking system

Live Tracking: User can see the person or vehicle live on Google Maps with an accuracy of Google maps that depends on Place, Time and carrier network.

Notifications of important locations: Mobile notifications are very useful for Safe Zone alerts or Geofence. For example, you may have saved important locations such as home, office, garage, shipment destination, warehouse etc. on your mobile phone. When you get a notification on your mobile which signals the arrival or departure of a vehicle or person in these locations, it can be of great help to you. It also removes your concern for a vehicle, family member or about goods reaching its destination.

Travel History: Past record of travel route with time and address is of extreme help in identifying problems in route and in verifying things. A simple and beautiful interface can show the past records and travel route on a play video mode where a user can see the vehicle moving on a map. The user can pause the video to check the address and time and can view any history video saved on the server.

Analytics and Insights: For any business, data is the most reliable source to take business decisions. The tracking software presents data in a simple and meaningful format. For example, you can monitor the total distance covered in a day and total run time at a monthly level. The idle time that indicates the wastage of fuel with no productivity can help in controlling the cost. In cases, where over-speed is a matter of concern, one can check the stats and discuss with the concerned driver.

There are many additional features which your GPS tracking system can provide and that can be customized according to your requirement. The possibilities are endless.

Thus today,the role of GPS tracking systems has gained a lot of importance in any type of mobility business, taxi business being one of them.

Actions taken by the government

The French Government has decided to promote the use of geolocation technology among taxis by building and operating a nation-wide geolocalized database of taxi cabs.

This free and open platform allows any third party to look for taxis near a geographical position and e-hail a driver.

As part of its Open Government Partnership roadmap, the French Government will release the Taxi platform under the Affero GPL Open Source licence, allowing any city, state or country to reuse it freely. Anonymized data about every taxi ride including pickup and drop off times and locations will also be released as Open Data.

The project has started in March 2015. A test phase with early adopters (both search engines and Taxi apps) has occured since this summer, and public rollout is planned for the end of the year.