Hewlett-Packard, CityCab Pte Ltd and Ericsson have announced plans to implement a mobile solution called “Project Escalade”.
CityCab taxis in Singapore will be equipped with mobile devices to bring a wireless, interactive experience to passengers and taxi drivers. This project is a first for Singapore, with potential global rollout in the next few years.
The three companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding to implement Project Escalade, representing a total investment of over U.S.$5.5 million and intended to transform the operations at CityCab as well as revolutionise the customer experience.
With about 9,800 drivers operating a fleet of 5,000 vehicles, CityCab is one of the largest taxi operators in the world. The initiative`s pilot phase is expected to involve 500 CityCab taxis before the end of the year. With the help of mobile e-services, CityCab passengers will be able to surf the Web, send e-mails, check stock prices, catch up on the latest news or even print information such as distance travelled and total fare—all from the back of a cab using voice activation and wireless technology. Taxi drivers will be able to use an advanced mobile appliance to access mapping and routing information, accept e-payment options or process booking—allowing drivers to plan and manage their work anytime, anywhere. HP plans to supply the voice recognition technology that will enable CityCab to automatically process calls from passengers and send the booking order across wireless networks to HP handheld PCs in CityCab taxis. The handheld PCs, which will provide in-vehicle support, will replace CityCab`s Mobile Data Terminals to allow CityCab drivers to interactively access mapping and routing information via advanced location-based technology, access taxi statistics updates, utilise voice browsing commands and accept various e-payment options.
A personal area network is created within the taxi that passengers can tap into, even when using their own personal digital appliances. This private network is linked up to other public networks, such as GSM and GPRS, allowing passengers to access various information sources and e-services. Ericsson, the telecommunications technology provider to the project, plans to develop innovative mobile Internet applications to offer the taxi-related services to support network technologies such as GSM, GPRS and 3G, including location-based technology and Bluetooth capabilities. Potential expansion of system implementations is expected in China, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia through alliances with affiliate transportation companies.