Students develop campus bus tracker

La Trobe University students have used low cost technology to build a real-time bus departure application for the ‘Glider’ bus service.

The University has provided a free bus service for our community to travel around the large Melbourne Campus based in Bundoora.

La Trobe University’s Department of Computer Science and IT hosts an industry project subject where teams of students recently competed to build a solution to track the bus in real-time. Complicating matters, the ‘Glider’ bus travels on public roads for sections of the route and is subject to traffic disruption.

Shaarang Tanpure and his team came up with the Glider Real information Time Service (GRiTS), a low cost ‘Internet of Things’ solution. The system utilised Raspberry PI’s, a low cost credit card sized computer installed on the bus. It detects the beacons installed at every stop on the route and sends the data to a server. The server runs an algorithm to calculate arrival times for each stop and provides this information for the end user on any browser-enabled device.

“It can be quite frustrating not knowing when the next service is arriving, so our application helps make it easier for students to get around campus by knowing when to grab the next ‘Glider’” Mr Tanpure said.

Dr Scott Mann from La Trobe University’s Department of Computer Science and Information technology supervised the project and was impressed with what the team had created.

“We wanted to improve the Glider service for students and Shaarang’s team have come up with a fantastic cost-effective solution that is easy to use.” Dr Mann said.

“La Trobe is committed to involving students in the future direction of the campus. As staff, it’s our role to give our students every opportunity to create a truly ‘smart’ learning environment.”

Web and mobile development lead Stephen Franklin (La Trobe ICT) collaboratively developed the brief for the teams as part of the Department of Computer Science and IT’s final year industry project subject. The intention is to have students working on substantive projects using emerging technology for the future workplace. The projects need to satisfy certain criteria.

“The project needs to have a value proposition for the university and provide the students with marketable skills whilst tackling a feasible project,” Mr Franklin said.

“We made sure there was a ‘doable’ solution design and left it up to the students to find and solve the technical problems with whatever tools they could find.”

The GRiTS live timetable is currently in operation for the Melbourne Campus Glider Bus service.

The timetable can be found here: https://gliderlive.github.io/Timetable

Media Contact: Dylan May – d.may@latrobe.edu.au - 9479 5353 / 0407125909

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