Nowadays, smartphones offer a wide range of functionalities, with numerous different applications. Many built-in sensors and easily available internet connection helps to reach the full potential of mobile devices. People are able to shop, pay, consume news and learn about any topic with a tap of a button. Not all industries take advantage of smartphones and smartphone users even though there would be interest from their smartphone-enabled consumers. Personal transportation is such an industry, where smartphone integrations are at the very beginning. Currently, ordering a taxicab is a multiple step activity: one needs to figure out a taxi fleet's phone number, call them, explain where he is, where he is going and tell what time he wants his ride to arrive. Then he has to wait on the curb in full uncertainty, whether his driver is late, on the way, or not coming at all. He has to carry a payment device accepted by that specific driver so he can pay for his ride. Easy to imagine a smartphone application solution, where passengers can easily hail a cab with a tap of a button, track their driver's location on a map and at the end of the ride pay with that very mobile application via mobile payment. In the application, users (passengers) see their own location with the closest available driver and get real-time estimations on the Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA). After requesting a ride, they can track their driver's on the map coming towards them. They can add their credit or debit card information to the application beforehand so there is no need to carry the card, payments are handled within the application. At the end of the ride, they can provide feedback on their ride experience which carries a lot of valuable information for fleets.
There are some popular applications already available with similar functionality, but these operate with non-professional drivers. Their popularity is growing so legally operating taxi fleets are losing market share. The application described above is beneficial for both passengers and fleets.
In my thesis, I present the design and development of such application for personal transportation providers with an already existing cloud-based back-end system.
The full system including the application described in this thesis is already in-use by a fleet in Nashville, Tennessee, USA.