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DTI combines capabilities for enticing Australian bus industry package

DTI Group is combining decades of CCTV and passenger information experience with its latest sleek telematics solution for Australian bus and coach operators

As the digitalisation of the Australian bus and coach industry continues to accelerate, a range of telematics solutions and providers are emerging in the local market. While telematics re-sellers expand into the Australasian bus and coach sector, a local company is combining nearly 30 years of expertise into its latest solution.

Since 1995, DTI Group has been producing CCTV surveillance and passenger information systems for the Australian bus, coach, truck and mass transit markets. Now, its latest telematics offering combines all of the benefits of its previous devices into one simple package for operators.

“Over the years we’ve offered a range of telematics solutions, but now we’re expanding it,” DTI CEO Matthew Strack told ABC.

“All of our onboard servers are designed in-house and we have both hardware and software engineers working for us to design our systems at our Perth headquarters.”

While DTI originated as a CCTV systems provider, it quickly branched into the passenger information sector. Now, it’s found another home in the telematics space. Despite having a myriad of systems, the beauty of DTI’s latest telematics device is that it combines all of DTI’s previous capabilities into the one onboard server.

In a modern transport landscape looking towards low and zero-emissions vehicles, the single device wielding plenty of power becomes a major operational benefit. Strack says DTI’s latest telematics solution means operators can continue reducing power consumption and extend the range of their fleet by having a telematics device that combines all critical functions into one server.

“Instead of requiring three controllers for various devices, our solution delivers all services with the one machine,” Strack says.

“This system is ideal for bus and coach operators, but it is also being applied across rail, light rail and truck products. We’re very experienced with the requirements of vehicles running in harsh Australian environments.”

Engineering its devices in-house means DTI has been able to ensure the quality of its systems. Strack says DTI’s latest onboard telematics equipment meets the highest standards, with its servers meeting MIL shock testing requirements and its cameras all having high IP ratings to protect against water or solids.

While core elements of the combined telematics device have been an integral part of DTI’s offerings over recent decades, the difference in its modern technology is the ability to connect to vehicles in a whole new way. Through the Controller Area Network (CAN) bus, DTI’s device connects to a vehicle’s central system, allowing for fast and efficient communication.

Image: DTI Group

“We also have the in-house capability to interpret signals and make sense of them, while our servers also feature an accelerometer to detect hard braking, harsh acceleration or sharp turning,” Strack says.

“A core part of our products over time has been our internal GPS receivers, which allows us to accurately determine the location of a vehicle and its speed at any point in time. This means we don’t just notice when there’s a harsh braking event – we can also tell the GPS location of where it occurred and the speed the vehicle was travelling at beforehand.”

Outside of this detail, DTI has continued pulling from its previous products to provide a comprehensive telematics package in the singular device. Using DTI’s surveillance solution, both internal and external video footage can give operators’ context on a certain incident.

Strack says this detail has been crucial when it comes to incident investigation. In a recent court case, DTI was asked to give evidence for a case where a driver was accused of harsh braking, causing a passenger to fall off their seat. Using DTI’s data and footage, Strack says it showed that the driver didn’t “do anything abnormal” during the incident.

“From a safety assurance and risk mitigation point of view, this feature gives operators another mechanism to protect themselves and their drivers,” Strack says.

Another major benefit of DTI’s homegrown solution is its capability to integrate seamlessly with third party systems, including child safety devices. Currently, these products in the market require drivers to walk to the back of a bus at the end of a shift and press a button, with an alert confirming it’s been done. When it isn’t completed, DTI’s telematics solution will send an automatic alert to the fleet manager, ensuring that all buses are checked by the time they’re back at the depot.

Other third party information that DTI’s systems can ascertain include tyre pressures, with DTI also communicating with weight monitors in the trucking sector to provide up-to-date weight data.

“With our data, we can send it back to the customer in real time if they have a 4G SIM card in their server, while we can also offload the vehicle data in real time or do so in a batch at the end of the day depending on requirements,” Strack says.

“We’re capable of waiting until a vehicle comes back to the depot to download the data over wi-fi. After that’s done, we help develop customised reports for customers from our Perth office.”

While the vehicle is out on the road, DTI has also established real-time information alerts for drivers and operators. If needed, fleet managers at control centres can look into a bus through live camera footage, using DTI’s various systems to ensure all vehicles are safe.

Just one of these benefits is enough to satisfy operators. By combining all of them together, Strack is confident that DTI’s versatile solution is a game-changer.

“The simplicity of having one controller, one server and one set of wiring is a massive boost for operators,” he says.

“Our system can be hosted either in the cloud or on their premises, making it a versatile option for flexible companies.”

For 20 years, DTI’s accelerometer, GPS data and speed information have been core functions of its offerings. Now, these systems, combined with third party integration onto a single server, is helping DTI launch into the future.

It’s also available to all operators, large or small. Once the system is first installed, operators can add functionality as they need. This means DTI is working with private schools operating a few mini-buses as well as the likes of the Public Transport Authority (PTA) of Western Australia and Brisbane City Council, as well as the public transport authority in San Francisco.

It’s this mix of experiences that Strack is excited to continue using to enhance DTI’s latest convenient telematics solution.

“We’ve got a global customer base, but Australia is our backyard,” Strack says.

“The system’s points of difference are their ability to be tailored to any size operation and their efficiency of being combined into the one device. With our local team working with customer out of Perth, we’re looking to continue integrating with bus and coach operators around the nation.”

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