The Pysae application is an easy-to-implement system that enables operators and passengers to track the whereabouts and progress of public transport vehicles.

Pysae Connects Up Transport Networks, Even in Rural Areas

In March 2014, Microsoft CityNext, in partnership with Ipsos, published a study entitled Quelle ville numérique pour demain? (What will the digital city of tomorrow look like?) and surveyed 1,000 French people on their expectations for digital services in cities. Some 29% of those polled, mainly living in rural areas, thought that their municipality was lagging behind as regards the new technologies. Young French startup Pysae, which was one of the shortlisted candidates for a prize at the Grand Prix "Printemps Numérique", (‘Digital Spring’) day which took place on 5 June in Compiègne, in northern France, has set out to provide a simple real-time vehicle tracking service, with transport networks in rural areas and emerging countries especially in mind. “We have a good deal of experience in the transport sector both in France and abroad and this is what prompted us to harness the new information and communication technologies to make it easier for people to use public transport,” explains Pysae co-founder Nicolas Jaulin.

A flexible, evolving service

The Pysae team pride themselves on the fact that their product is highly intuitive. It is designed for local authorities and public transport operators looking to equip their vehicles with a geolocation system. The driver of the vehicle will be given a tablet equipped with a GPS beacon which allows him/her to consult his/her timetable and see whether s/he is late or early, and to warn the rest of the public transport network when there are obstacles or hazards such as roadworks along the way. Smart algorithms enable vehicle detection and tracking. Meanwhile passengers can use a dedicated mobile app to track the progress of the vehicle in real time and the transport operator obtains a journey history and statistics so as to be able to improve the overall service. Pysae makes a web service Application Programming Interface (API) available to customers so that they can tailor the product and create their own app. Subscriptions to the Pysae app are offered to local authorities or transport firms, on a no-commitment basis, for the number of vehicles they wish to equip.

Planning the public transportation system of tomorrow

Pysae is targeting its product at public transport operators and rural district authorities, and also at cities for their school bus systems or where provisional services have to be laid on due to roadworks or rail repairs. Emerging countries such as the Maghreb (French-speaking North Africa) region are also a strategic target because “in the big cities transport communication systems are non-existent and so these countries really need light innovative systems,” Nicolas Jauvin points out.  A key strong point for Pysae is its low price policy. “These days many of the systems on offer are complex and are part of major R&D projects, but are not always suited to the local conditions,” underlines Jauvin. As an aficionado of the Smart City movement, the young French entrepreneur can even conceive of a connected public transport system along the lines of the connected self-driving car. The technology is now up and running and the company is planning start pilot testing in a provincial French city in the next couple of months.

By Eliane HONG