Last Friday signalled the last day of my four years at University. It is a pleasing result that I can officially consider myself to be a Mechanical Engineer (though not practicising), achieving a first class honours. Though I am too modest to further embelish such an achievement.
Such state in time, leaves an unqestionable gap between the course I take in my life. am still unsure whether I am relieved to be out of University or literally thrown into the wilderness with only the knowledge and experience gained over the past four years. Fortunatly, the world Rickshaw Taxi is a comfort to focus my energies on.
It is difficult to comprehend how the next year and half will go – you would think I’d have so much experience in the past that this will be ease. Sadly you’re mistaken. I am both looking forward to the day I depart on my three wheels, but I find it difficult to picture how it will come together. Nothing like this has ever been done. Enough said.
Over the course of the past two weeks, with free time at hand, I have spent a good deal of time bringing the website into 2013. It’s going to be tweaked but I am much more content having rushed creating the website last November. I have also built up the infrastructure on the backend.
This isn’t necessarily just a journey but I do consider it as a research project to investigate methods of recording observations in the field, both autonomously with a methodological approach that is practical given the very optimistic budget and resources – power on teh go.
By infrastructure, it’s work on managing and recording all the passenger fares on my behalf and interactivly plotting these on the route page. It also will serve to record each journey – start time and end which will later be displayed on the homepage. This is now linked into the passenger request form, so I can manage these more easily on the go. I have finally built in a geo-location service to pin-point the place on the map hopefully without my intervention.
Once I accept a passenger request on the map these will be instantly displayed on the map.
It sounds trivial, especially considering there are now apps and google maps which provide similar offerings. But it doesn’t meet my requirements. Although having to do it my own way takes time.
The next step is to build up the service around twitter to both automate notifications and on the journey for creating a live tracker. The live tracker based on a Raspberry-Pi system will feed the data through a 3G dongle by sending sms texts to twitter. These will captured by the website and stored into a database that will record the data set including:
- GPS Position – Latitude and Longitude
- Altitude (calculated from Pressure sensor and GPS Elevation reading)
- Average speed
I am still unsure whether this system will be practical, but will be an experiment that hopefully would be competitive and more liberal than a commercial tracking system. I will go into more detail at a later date on this.
Advertisement System via tablet
Everything I do tries to be as cost effective as I can and will continue as a scrupulously tight student. Unfortunatly, it seems every company that I request sponsorship for is hard-up and cannot even offer a discount.
There are likely offers for paying for advertisement whilst in the UK and also abroad. I won’t have the resources to create advertisements on the go unless the advertisers can contribute towards costs. My offer to them is displaying their advert on tablet screen for the passegners to view. I need to update the website accordingly. This is either very new to rickshaws or even not often seen in black hackney cabs.
I purchased the tablet for an amazing £37, but required me to cycle 12 miles each way to pick it up from the former owner – Coventry to Nuneaton a few weeks ago. The tablet will serve it’s purpose and is pretty powerful to say it’s only two years old – my only gripe is that the battery life is so poor. Nevertheless I will be hoping to get a solar panel charger and battery system very soon to power this. Even if I don’t get any advertisers, I’m considering letting the passengers watch a film!
The nice thing is that it will be provide a very convenient mapping device by using offline OSM maps (will write about later). This will be 100x better than a Sat Nav by offering a 10 inch screen and multi-touch on the go. However, will never come close to a real paper map, which I will still take for the journey.
Sponsorship – You don’t ask you don’t get!
I have been pushing hard for sponsorship over the past three weeks, I have been fortunate with a few companies who are in some way offering some help. Some have offered discounts which is helpful.
I would like to thank the guys at Water-to-Go who have kindly provided me with one of their Water Filter Bottles, which will be fantastic help on the journey – I look forward to writing about it in a later post.
I would also like to thank Carly, Taylors of Harrogate who has helped provide some tea Yorkshre Tea + caddy for the World Rickshaw Taxi
I am quite frustrated that some companies don’t respond or simply misread my email completly. I am grateful to those companies I have contacted who have given quite a compassionate response, but simply through lack of resources cannot afford to assist.