DB Regio AG is a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn with about 725 million passengers and a traffic volume of 8.4 billion passenger kilometers. DB Regio Bus is one of the largest providers of German bus transport. Nationwide, around 13,400 buses are used.
In 2017, DB Regio sought a solution for an IT upgrade in 4800 of their buses, with the aim to make fleet monitoring and control more automated and manageable and to implement Fuel Economy. It was also imperative that the system would be able to integrate DB Regio’s own applications as well as third party systems.
DB Regio decided on Pilotfish’s solution based on the open ITxPT standard. ITxPT (Information Technology for Public Transport) is a European standard where Pilotfish is a founding member. Pilotfish has many years of experience of standardization to enable open and compatible IT solutions for public transport.
The base for the Pilotfish solution is the VCP (Vehicle Communication Platform), which consists of three main parts:
- A vehicle gateway connected to the vehicle’s different systems.
- An Android based driver console.
- A Back-office for Mobile Device Management
The Gateway connects all onboard systems to each other and to the internet. It also integrates ITxPT compatible systems as well as DB Regio’s applications, proprietary and legacy systems into an open IT environment onboard, and to a cloud-based back-office system. It also integrates to the two existing communication protocols IBIS and FMS, which among other things handle line information and vehicle status.
The Driver Console
The Android based driver console, provides better and safer interaction between the system and the driver, as well as enhanced communication between drivers and traffic control. It also enables real-time information about, for example, passengers, ticket handling, vehicle position, service need and fuel consumption, depending on which applications the public transport operator choses to connect to the open information solution. It also makes the eco-driving system more effective.
The cloud-based back office system makes information accessible through a user-friendly interface, both on the bus and from other places, with a secure login through computers or mobile devices. The solution also includes real-time monitoring of the vehicle and automatic online downloading of tachograph information.
In October 2017, DB Regio ordered Vehicle Communication Gateways and driver consoles for 4800 busses to be installed over a five-year period. Already a year later, over 4000 units have been installed and certified according to the European ITxPT standard.
There are several tangible results of the investment, such as improvements in safety, environmental impact, reliability, economy and comfort. Another result is a more structured maintenance and repair organization through Mobile Device Management, which consists of surveillance, software and profile management, configurations etc. Automatic error report and Vehicle Location also helps maintenance as well as fleet management.