|Biometrics Pilots Return to Florida to Track Students|
|Written by Staff|
|Monday, 01 January 2007 00:00|
With its ever-present quest to keep school children safe and sound, it is hardly surprising that the pupil transportation industry is a breeding ground for technological innovation.
The newest advance comes from Nexus Biometrics in Sarasota, Fla., which recently introduced the BusMate 100 pilot program for Florida school districts. The system uses fingerprint biometrics to positively ID and track students in real time. Capabilities are also available for geofencing bus routes; two-way radio and telephone communication; customized reporting and web-based tracking; and driver time, attendance and stoppage reports.
“We are so excited about using fingerprint biometrics,” said vice president of sales Brad Baker. “We have been working on this technology for over 20 years and it is only in the past year of so that we’ve been able to perfect the technology.”
Previous attempts, like that in Pinellas County and the surrounding St. Petersburg area, proved too unreliable with security and the sharing of student records a concern. The latest system works by downloading data provided by riders who register with the system at their school to a central database and then to each school bus. As each student boards the bus, he or she places a finger on the sensor attached to a BusMate cell phone. Within about a second, a message and tone verify the identity of the child.
Parents can log onto the BusMate Web site for updates on bus location and estimated arrival time, and school administrators can verify if a child has boarded or disembarked a bus safely.
While Indian River School District officials said any comment on its consideration of a BusMate pilot program would be premature, a local newspaper reported that school board members were concerned that the program would require registering a child’s fingerprints as a form of identification. However, Baker explained that the system doesn’t store a child’s fingerprint but a mathematical calculation of it, and only about 1 percent of parents have elected not to participate in pilot programs.
The Polk County School Board recently concluded its BusMate pilot program, which included GPS and student tracking using the fingerprint imaging. The district is currently weighing the costs of implementing the system, which ranges between $800 and $1,500 per bus depending on the options and size of the order, said David Milhorn, director of vehicle and safety services. Polk operates 525 buses and transports 48,000 students across 8 million miles annually.
“We are also considering a program to implement the program in stages to defer costs over a period of years,” he said.
So far, said Baker, the company is pleased with the performance of the system and expected the first sales of the BusMate 100 in late 2006.
|Last Updated on Monday, 21 December 2009 17:12|