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Connected drivers to improve bus fleet management

The possibility to consult in real time the bus timetables on a phone or at a bus-stop, seems something absolutely necessary these days. The drawback is that the equipment is cumbersome and expensive and does not allow smaller companies to invest here. This was where Grégoire Piffault and his associate came up with a simple yet ingenious idea: to provide the drivers with smartphones and an ‘app’ that allows their company to geolocalise them. Simple as pie.

Connected drivers to improve bus fleet management

When Grégoire Piffault (a UTC-GSU in Urban Engineering Systems, graduated in 2008) and Nicolas Jaulin were working together for Systra – a major public transport company, that they realized that existing systems require the fitting of heavy equipment in each bus. “Today ¾ of all bus companies do not possess a monitoring system for their vehicles”, notes Grégoire. “We then thought that new technologies should able to offer the same functionalities, but in a much simpler ad economical way”.

The two associates decided to launch a start-up, PYSAE, in 2014. The underlying principle is easy to understand: “We import the time-tables, the bus-stop coordinates, etc., and then provide our own servers stations to store the data”, Grégoire comments. The bus drivers are then ‘given’ a smartphone with our “app” enabling each bus to be geolocalised in real time. “The data are then forwarded via the “app” to the commuters, with all the PYSAE equipped networks. “However, since we supply the data, our customers can develop their own apps, carry out traffic analyses and install, if they so wish, information screens at each bus-stop” adds our young entrepreneur.

The start-up recently developed a system to validate badges, for example, those carried by pupils on school bus circuits with equipment far lighter than those currently used, connected to the driver. Reduced operations costs obtained this way allow small operators such as territorial authorities, school transport companies, developing countries … to equip themselves.

“In fact, what we sell the customers is a subscription that is a pro rata of the number of vehicles they wish to connect plus some additional a la carte services, if required”, notes Grégoire. The city of Dole and the Loire-Atlantique department already use PYSAE and a contract has been signed with the national electric utility EDF to track a vehicle round the premises of a nuclear power station.

 

Today, the two associates have just raised some investment funding to develop their product in Eire and elsewhere round the world, “and we have just welcomed on board a major shareholder, Vinci Energie, who recently acquired a minority participation in the start-up company”, says Grégoire by way of a conclusion.