CHENNAI : Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) faculty members, students and alumni have designed and developed a mobile application to enable easier and efficient transportation of goods within cities.
Called ‘OptRoute’, this mobile phone app connects a driver with the consumer and does not take any commission or on-boarding fee. The payment from the consumer goes directly to driver, with no intermediaries.
The first version of the App has been developed and commercialised through OptRoute Logistics, an IIT Madras-incubated start-up co-founded by Prof. N.S. Narayanaswamy, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, IIT Madras and Mr. Anuj Fulia, an IIT Madras alumnus.
The basic ideas behind the App were presented during the 2020 Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (https://doi.org/10.1145/3377930.3389804) held in Cancun, Mexico.
The start-up has also developed packing and efficient vehicle space utilization methods, which will be included in the application once sufficient initial traction is achieved.
Highlighting the problems this app sets out to eventually resolve, Prof. Narayanaswamy, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, IIT Madras, said, “OptRoute aims to solve the issues in connectivity between drivers and customers in the goods logistics and transport domain. The main issues faced are unavailability of return load for transporters and vehicle capacity under-utilization. Current market of this domain is highly unorganized making it inefficient. It is also ripe for deployment of technology based solutions to reach the goals set by the National Logistics Policy, 2022.”
Mr. Anuj Fulia, Co-founder, OptRoute Logistics, and an IIT Madras alumnus, added, “We have developed a lightweight mobile application where customers and drivers can get connected. OptRoute does not use any third-party services allowing us to cut down the cost of operation to an absolute minimum and because of the same reason we are able to provide our service with zero percent commission. This design and development has had a significant contribution done by alumni and students of IIT Madras. By the end of this year, we will scale our service to be available in 500+ cities.”
The OptRoute application has two user modes – Driver and Customer. In the Customer mode, users can place any goods transport request for which a vehicle is needed. In the Driver mode, users can view the available requests and accept them.
The key points of differences between OptRoute and existing services include:
Ø Zero-commission per transaction and nominal subscription based service model
Ø Direct payment from consumer to driver
Ø High scalability of the software system and operations
Ø A single app for both drivers and customer
The OptRoute app is available for Android devices and can be installed from Google Play Store.
It is currently available for operational use in multiple cities across India, including Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Coimbatore, Delhi, Faridabad, Gurugram, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Nagpur, Noida, Panchkula, Pune, Mohali, Surat and Zirakpur.