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for Indian cab drivers
Zalak Upadhyay Information & Interface Design NID, R & D Campus,Bangalore
Guides: Dr. B. Baral NID R&D Campus, Bangalore Mr. Prashanth Halady Bosch Engineering, Bangalore
how a cab driver sees and perceives the car, what he carries with him for his comfort and how that can be accomodated in the current design.
The study began with a quick market analysis of vehicles that are bought for using in cab services. Taxicabs in India are mostly Premier Padmini or Hindustan Ambassador cars but newer ones are mostly Tata Indigo & Mahindra Logan (especially in the big cities). New models of taxis like the Mahindra Logan, Tata Indigo, Tata Indica and Toyota Corolla are commonly seen in metropolises in India. After the market analysis, the real target audience was to be catered, which in this case was cab drivers. The cab services work in three ways, They hire the LPVs in a bulk, in their preferred design and make, ﬁt the gadgets, recruit the drivers, train them, and put them on road. They open a service where drivers own their individual vehicles, register themselves under the service provider’s name, are provided with the gadgets, trained and become a part of the service network. Private owner’s of the vehicle operating as cab driver’s. The operational level details of service models are similar. Step 1 A call is made to the cab service call centre, details of pick and drop are provided, along with a contact number. Step 2 Request is registered in the database with the details of customer and the transaction. Step 3 The centre broadcasts the request, cab driver’s bid, the earliest bidder gets the job.But, this has certain preconditions like, The distance between the area from where the driver bids to the area of request. The time passed since driver’s last approved bid and drop. Trafﬁc situations.
Cabs and various cab services continue to gain a market in Indian society. These cabs and services have various modes of operation, from organized, highly professional, to moderately organized, as well as individuals driving their cars on their own and using it as a cab to earn their livelihood. Where the organized services like Meru cabs, Easy cabs etc. have a speciﬁc, simple yet efﬁcient protocol to follow, the moderatley organized services may come with little loose ended protocols, and the individual cabs operate on a totally private terms and conditions. This study involves a research, with the cab driver as the end user of the LPV’s available in the current market, for a project to redesign the dashboard of existing LPV’s in the market to suit their needs. The organized cab services serve both in the city as well as inter city. The services usually employ LPVs and local residents as drivers for the same.This work studies the dashboards of cabs in existing organized cab services in the city, in terms of instrumentation, infotainment, design, ergonomics and usability. The primary focus of the study would be to look into the design of the dashboard in a manner that it makes the cab driver’s who happen to spend some 16-18 hours per day in their cab, feel at home. The objective of this study was to get insights about
A call is made to the cab service call centre, details of pick and drop are provided, along with a contact number.
Request is registered in the database with the details of customer and the transaction.
The centre broadcasts the request, cab driver’s bid, the earliest bidder gets the job.
A message is sent to your mobile phone, con rming the pick up, timings and giving out the cab number with driver’s mobile number.
Fig. 1 The process of booking a cab for an organized cab service. Step 4 Customer request is fulﬁlled, the vehicle is GPS tracked, record of the request is made in the database, on drop a bill is generated and the customer pays. The difference between the services can be seen in the sophistication of the gadgets used by the service. While, the moderately organized services use a simple broadcasting system using GPRS, to operate, the highly professional services like Meru have an expensive product called MDT installed in their vehicles. The rules and regulations of the service, really don’t leave much space for the customization of the dashboard for the drivers. Where the devices provided by the cab service takes away the majority of the dashboard.
Classes of data were collected and studies conducted to discern patterns and formulate principles that might guide future action.
Survey - Questionnaire
Behaviors, beliefs and observations of cab driver’s were identified, reported and interpreted.
A representative or selected sample of one or more phenomena was examined to determine its special characteristics.
An attempt to find or describe why things were the way they were.
Fig. 2 Research methodolgy Process
The initial stages of the study began with a statistical analysis. The areas of study were the total vehicle population(TVP) of India and drilling it down to the statistics of Bangalore city in Karnataka. These findings were further drilled down to the number of cabs in Bangalore. The statistics revealed a total vehicle population of 9.72 lacs (includes two wheelers, three wheelers and four wheelrs) in Bangalore, and out of which 0.92 lacs were cabs. This showed that 10% of all the vehicles running on Bangalore’s roads were cabs. The statistics showed a promising area for research. The next step was to collect some information from the market by collecting the data about the cars used as cabs. In Bangalore, the cars seen plying as cabs are majorly Tata Indica, Toyota Qualis and Mahindra-Renault Logan. Large scale cab services like Meru Cabs can be seen using Logan in majority, but the other smaller cab services and self employed cab driver’s still prefer Tata Indica due to it’s size and performance. This gave a direction to the study and hence areas where cab driver’s can be found in Bangalore were listed down. The major areas covered were commercial zones like M.G Road (Shopping areas), Koramangala( Corporate zone), Airport, Malleswaram (old city).
The Tata Indica diesel has become the broadly used car in the private transport sector of the country. In metropolitan cities, it has been used largely by companies for commuting their employees. The turbo-kit equipped version of Indica V2, Indica V2 Turbo is the most commonly used variant of Indica as taxi. Tata Indica is available in two models namely Indica V2 and Vista and has numerous variants.
Even though Toyota Kirloskar Motors has phased out the production of Toyota Qualis, it is still among the commonly used taxis in the country. Qualis is a mighty MUV with 2.4-litre diesel engine that is naturally aspirated. It has great fuel efficiency and has a fuel-tank capacity of 53-litres. This is combined with latest safety features that will keep the passengers safe in any conditions. Toyota Qualis is found as taxis mostly in airports and railway stations because of its spacious interiors that will not only occupy eight to ten passengers depending on the variant but also has enough room for luggage. These MUVs are also used as corporate taxis, thanks to its huge seating capacity.
Mahindra - Renault Logan
Logan is a luxury sedan and one among the luxurious taxis of the country. Mahindra-Renault Logan was launched as a joint venture by Renault, the French automobile manufacturer, and Mahindra & Mahindra. It was largely criticized for its gaudy shape. The car is affordably priced and has good fuel efficiency. The car has very low maintenance cost and is not a burden on the car owner. Logan is built on Renault's space optimization design. Available in over 13 variants, it is the diesel version that is used as taxis.
Methodology Cab Drivers in Bangalore
India’s TVP 375.81 lacs
Karnataka’s TVP 25.44 lacs
Bangalore’s TVP 9.72 lacs
Bangalore’s total cab population 0.92 lacs
10% of Bangalore’s Total Vehicle Population are
TVP - Total Vehicle Population including two wheelers and three wheelers.
Survey - Questionnaire
This was the most iterative yet insighful part of the research. Initial focus of the study was to understand the dashboards of cabs in existing organized cab services in the city, in terms of instrumentation, infotainment, design, ergonomics and usability. The primary focus of the study was to to look into the adapabtability of the cab driver with the various interfaces provided in the cab helping him with navigation, billing and other add ons that come into picture when an LPV is converted into an organized cab service. Improvising or providing better methods to reduce the learning curve of cab drivers using the interfaces to ensure better service. With this primary area in mind a subjective questionnaire was formulated. The questions in the questionnaire were as follows: Age How long have you been in this profession? How many kms do you drive per day? What is the most disturbing hour? Why? Do you understand the controls provided to you? How long did it take to master the gadgets? Is there anything else that you’d want in the car for your driving convenience? Does the customer distract you at times? How? How would you rate yourself as a driver? How are you evaluated by the company? Any bad accidents, where the mechanism, interface or gadgets are to be blamed? How do you feel about the arrangement of controls on the dashboard? Would you like to displace some controls with other more important ones? Are there some controls that you hardly use? Were you taught the controls or you learnt it yourself? Is language a problem? Would you like to customize the vehicle? These questions were asked to 20 cab driver’s from various cab services ( employed, self employed). But, the results showed that most of the question became invalid in case the driver was self employed as that meant no extra gadgets were placed in their vehicle, also with other semi organized services, most of them operated via mobile and not a GPRS device, once again ridding the driver of any extra gadgets on the dashboard. Though the initial focus of the study seemed a little lost, a new pattern emerged from these interviews and questions and moreover from the later analysis of pictures taken while questioning. It was seen that the driver’s carried some personal objects with them while on the move, and their placements in the car were quite fascinating. Keeping this in mind a new questionnaire was formed. Age How long have you been in this profession? How many kms do you drive per day? What all in the car belongs to you? Where do you store your document? Where do you keep your mobile? Where do you keep your license? Where do you keep the toll receipts? How do you charge your mobile?
What all do you have for your entertainment? What do you do while waiting for your customer? Along with this observations were made about, If there, where was the music player placed? Where was the food and water kept? Were there any other knick knacks on the dashboard? Were their any customizations, additions or derived usages of the existing dashboard?
Statistics Market Scenario Focus Area
Survey - Questionnaire
Raw Data Images
List of common objects Patterns
Time spent in car Time spent outside car
The data collected from the survey gave out some common objects carried by the cab drivers. On comparing the results of the various survey’s and studying the storage space used for them some common patterns were spotted and duly noted.
Some of the patterns that were spotted, were quite unique and innovative. Thus, it required a deeper insight to figure out, why this particular trend was seen. Like, why would they prefer to carry the 2 ltr, Pepsi, Coke bottles? So, another round of interviews with 10 cab drivers took place that would throw light on these trends.
Fig. 3 Input and output of every stage of research process
Often these drivers on an average end up driving some 350 kms a day, which means nearly an entire day spent in the car. In both cases, whether the vehicle is owned by them or not, a certain customization was seen as an effort to personalize the tiny space that becomes their home. A list of the common objects carried by the cab driver’s is: Important documents License Mobile Food & water Entertainment (CDs, newspapers) Religious artefacts While a specified space has been provided for some, the driver’s have found their own creative workaround for the others. Also, a certain amount of change in interiors is observed to make themselves feel at home, these can be seen in the forms of: Steering wheel decorations Car seat customization, in terms of embellishments and adjustments using cushions. Idols in the centre of the dashboard Garlands hanging from the rearview mirror This gave an insight into the need of the driver to store personal stuff in the limited space and have it at arm’s length to access without affecting his driving performance. So, this is suggesting a look into a driver’s personal needs when he’s on the go the whole day and how modiﬁcations in the dashboard can ﬁt the needs. Mobile Phone
License & ID card
Food & water Fig. 4 Objects carried by a cab driver.
The locations of the above mentioned objects can be seen in the following images.
Fig. 5 Idol placed on the centre of the dashboard
Fig. 7 Religious embellishment on the steering
Fig. 6 Idol placed on the centre of the dashboard The religious artefacts included idols placed on the centre of the dashboard, some hangings hanging from the rear view mirror, embellishments on the steering wheel, stickers on the windshield etc. The most common among these was the idol on the dashboard. The idols are glued on to the dashboard so that they don’t fall down due to the motion of the car, but the glue wears off with time. This was one area which needs to be worked on.
Fig. 8 A religious hanging and sticker spotted on the rearview mirror and windshield.
The next common object was a water bottle. Which was kept under the seat or in the cavity next to the door, but he majority driver’s kept it under the seat or next to it. The reason quoted for this was, that they prefer to carry a 2 ltr bottle, the one’s you get the cold drinks like, Coca Cola and Sprite in. The bottles come cheap, and can store enough water for a to and fro trip, after which they can be refilled at office again. But, the location of these bottles is unsuitable for a hot summer day in Indian climate, as the water tends to heat up, due to it’s close proximity to the engine.
Fig. 11 Bottle kept in the in door cavity
Fig. 9 Bottle placed next to the driver’s seat Fig. 12 Bottle kept in the in door cavity Some drivers were seen using the cavity provided in the door, but most of them preferred not to use them for their water, because the cavities are very narrow and can only fit in very slim bottles or maximum they can expand to fit the one litre mineral water bottles, that too of some specific brands. In this case, most of these in door storage, went unused or was used to store, cleaning cloth and old newpapers.
Fig. 10 Bottle wrapped in a newspaper placed next to the driver’s seat As it can be seen in the above picture that a newspaper is being used to cover the bottle, to maintain the temperature for whatever short period it can sustain. The driver’s often prefer to fill water from coolers, so that they can get chilled water which they try to preserve by wrapping in newspaper or a piece of cloth.
Fig. 13 Mobile kept in space provided next to gear box
Fig. 16 Music player remote and other stationery
Fig. 14 Coins kept in space provided next to gear box Fig. 17 Mobile charger This position facilitated them to keep the mobile standing with the screen facing them, while driving, so that if it rings, they can see who’s calling while driving and decide if they want to pick the call or not. This, to us felt a hindrance to driving, because to look down, on has to take one’s eye off the road. But, the driver’s seemed to say it wasn’t so. Fig. 15 Innovative usage of an ashtray Another important object they preferred to carry was a mobile phone, which was seldom seen outside the pocket. On questioning it was found out that they consider mobile to be a really valuable device and don’t feel very safe keeping it out in open, when it’s a non air conditioned car. In air conditioned cars , some were seen using the cavity, provided next to the gear box. Also, with mobiles, comes the issue of charging them, as the drivers often stay out for 18-20 hours a day. While some had mobile chargers in their car, other’s utilized the plugs available in security offices of the waiting / parking of their clients. Along with mobiles, these cavities were also seen to be used for storing other random stuff like pen, coins, nail cutter, some old seemingly unimportant papers, remote controls of the music player, pan masala, candies etc.
The common trend seen with the important documents was to put them in the glove box, or in a pouch which was kept under the driver’s seat. While some documents which need to be flashed or kept displayed all the time were worn as tags or hung from the rear view mirror as can be seen i the picture.
Fig. 20 Documents cluttered on the dashboard Most of them mentioned keeping their license in their shirt pocket or in their wallets which were kept in the back pocket of the trousers. Some were using the visor to store documents that can be at arm’s stretch while driving, if stopped and asked for. Other than this, an open storage space provided under the steering was also seen to be utilised as a space to store documents and alternated by being used for storing entertainment, music, CDs in case there was a space to fit the player in mid panel. Otherwise, this particular slot under the steering was also seen being used as a slot to fix music players. While, most of the driver’s were seen to be taking immense care of the documents and preferring to store them in a closed compartment like the glove box, some were spotted leaving the billing book and bills and other transaction related documents out in open. Also, a trend was seen while storing toll receipts. As the toll receipts issued at one toll need to be refurbished once one exits the toll highway, they need to be kept somewhere quickly in reach. Some were found storing them in their shirt pocket, some put it in the visor, while some put it in the ashtray provided in the dashboard.
Fig. 18 Identity card
Fig. 19 Documents stored on visor
Last but not the least is the entertainment section. The drivers were commonly seen carrying newspaper and music for their entertainment whilst waiting for the customer outside the office or on the street. The newspapers were found out on the dashboard, or tucked inside the side pocket of the passenger seat, or at times next to the gearbox in the narrow passage that connects driver’s seat to the passenger’s seat. Whereas, music related objects like cassettes, CDs, USB sticks were spotted in cavity provide on the door, or under the steering storage. Some of the driver’s mentioned that they prefer to listen to the radio when they are inside the city and hence don’t feel the need to carry their own music with them. it’s only when they need to travel long distance that they carry their CD’s in a pouch which is kept on the dashboard or in the back pocket of the seat. Also, they mentioned that music is moreover only played when they are alone as some customer’s
Fig. 23 Space used to store CDs
Fig. 24 Newspaper tucked next to the seat
Fig. 21 Cassettes kept in in-door storage
Fig. 25 Newspaper tucked next to the seat have objection against music, due to safety reasons, or maybe they want to relax or due to a mismatch of taste in music.
Fig. 22 Newspaper on the dashboard
The user research gave out, quite a lot of insights and a scope for design interventions or rather design opportunities. The main problem areas identified were: Maintaining Documents Car related Identity card License Toll receipts Storing Food and Water Mobile Phones Placement Charging Religious artefacts While a digital solution is possible for a few, it’s not possible for all of the above problems. There is definitely a way out to all the above problems with physical change in the structure, shape and form of the dashboard. In simple words, a redesign of the dashboard to fit our traget segment of cab drivers. The following are the concepts suggested for the above mentioned problem areas. With documents both digital and structural suggestions are provided. The list of documents that are carried in a car on regular basis by a cab driver can be seen in Fig. 28.
Fig. 26 Types of concepts
Digital Documents Food & Water Mobile Phone Religious Artefacts
Fig. 27 Problem - Concept Type Mapping
RC Book Insurance Policy Road Tax & Octroi PUC License Identity Card Toll receipts
Fig. 27 List of documents carried by a cab driver
Usually people are seen carrying photocopies or attested photocopies of car related documents as they prefer to keep the original copies safe in their house. Often these documents go through wear and tear due to travelling conditions, changing hands. There’s a danger of forgetting some documents or losing them. After a period of time the documents start getting tattered and at times reach such an inrecognizable state that they hardly serve their purpose. An alternate solution to this can be storing the documents in a digital format in the provided infortainment device. The digital format could be: Scanned images of the original document Special digital versions of the documents with digital watermarks to preserve authenticity
My Docs My Music Settings
Fig. 29 Facility to store documents on the device
Fig. 30 Tap gesture to access the documents
My Documents RC Book License Identity Card Road tax Insurance Policy
Fig. 28 Ways of digitizing the Document But, certain states are very strict about original documentation. In such cases, a digital copy until unless a digital watermarked one, which to a certain extent can prove it’s authenticity, may not hold valid. In such situations, it’s better to have hard copies of the documents, for this a suitable storage in the dashboard is advisable. The drive’s prefer to store their documents in glove box, provided next to the passenger seat. But, this is more out of having no other option. The common problems with the glove boxes are: Unsuitable form (Fig. 33) Size
Fig. 31 List of documents
Govt. Of India
Fig. 32 Document Preview
Fig. 33 The Glove box of Indica, a very malformed form.
Fig. 34 Suggested storage space, behind the steering wheel.
As can be seen in Fig. 33 the shape of the glove box from inside is non uniform. Most of the documents, especially photocopied ones are of standard size A4. There is no way those documents can be kept safe in the glove box without folding. This is due to both the ofrm and the size of the glove box. Also, the placement of the glove box is such that it makes it difficult for the driver to access while seated on the driver’s seat. A suggestion to solve this issue is to have horizontally opening A4 sized storage space as shown in Fig. 34 that is placed behind the horizontal space on the dashboard,behind the steering wheel. This solves the issues by providing a suitable rectangular form, of preferred size and ease of access. Similarly for toll receipts, which are usually 1/4th A4 in size, the crucial point is quick access. For this a tiny drawer can be kept at quick access distance from the driver’s seat, so that they don’t go flying when windows are opened. Also, a cavity can be provided inside the door to store the same. Moving on to food and water. As seen in the insights section drivers store their bottle next to the seat, for quick access to water while driving. Also, it’s seen that they make efforts to keep water temperture down as it gets heted up due to close proximity to the engine. And for food it was seen that all of them, who carry a lunch box from home, before they start for the day prefer to keep it in the boot of the car. The reason quoted for not keeping it with them next to the seat, like water, is very cultural based. Indians consider wearing shoes or keeping food near one’s feet inauspicious. But, the road conditions in India and the weather conditions often create problems, as the food spills due to constant jerks, or gets spoilt due to constant exposure to heat. These issues can again only be resolved by
A tiny pouch, or pocket to store toll receipts Fig. 35 Placement of storage for toll receipts. structural changes. The water needs to be kept at a quick access distance and some facilitation needs to be done to maintain the temperature. Also, extra care needs to be taken to size the storage such that the preferred 2 Ltr. bottles can be stored. The suggestion is to have a storage space next to the steering wheel as shown in Fig. 37. This cavity can be coated with a coolant layer underneath to maintain the temperature.
Fig. 36 Suggested storage for water bottle
Fig. 37 Suggested location for storage of water bottle Similarly, for mobile phones and mobile chargers, a apace needs to be allocated to keep the mobile upright in direct vision of the driver. Also, the vehicles working as cabs should have mobile chargers. Another common pattern spotted with cab drivers was the religious artefacts, or the idols placed in the centre of the dashboard, and as mentioned earlier these idols come with a glue base, which can be stuck on the dashboard so that the motion of the vehicle does not make it fall. Few problems faced with the same are: The exposure to heat and weather condition causes the glue to wear off over a period of time. The glue quality varies from manufacturer to manufacturer and affects or leaves marks on the dashboard at times. Is not customizable to people’s different religious beliefs. Structural solutions to the same could be to find alternative ways to keep the idol stuck to the dashboard. Some of the suggested solutions would be: Using screw system, with on the base of the idol and a non sharp edged screw in the centre of the dashboard. One just has to screw/unscrew the idol to the dashboard, and same can be applied to any other accessory apart for idols. Using velcro base idols and accessories. And a corresponding patch can be provided in the centre of the dashboard. Digital solutions of the same can be to have a digitised image of respected God and Goddesses displayed as a static wallpaper on the infotainment device whenever the device is in a passive or sleep mode(not in use).
The device can come with a preselected set of deities which can be set as wallpaper as need be. Also, images of deities can be uploaded to the system by the driver if his respective God/Goddess is not pre loaded into the system. This can act as a motivation to drivers to use the infotainment devices and it’s full fetaures which they seemed quite reluctant to use as now a religious factor comes into play which they really have faith in.
Fig. 41 Wallpaper With this it can be concluded that with some digital and strucutural changes a cab drivers life can be made comfortable to a greater extent. Also, the journey of approximately 350 kms per day, with some 16-18 hours spent in the car, can have a more accessible and homely feeling attached to it.
My Docs My Music My Idol
Fig. 38 Facility to select images of God as wallpaper
Fig. 39 Tap gesture to access the Images
My Idols Ganesh Hanuman Laxmi Krishna Shiva
Fig. 40 List of Gods / Goddesses
For all India Statistics
http://www.carazoo.com/article/1007200901/Top-5-Taxis-on-the-Indian-Roads www.indiastat.com www.outlookindia.com www.cybersteering.com
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