AIS-140 - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What is AIS-140?
AIS-140 is a set of requirements prepared by the Automotive Industry Standards Committee (AISC) towards standardization of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). This was proposed in the CMVR-TSC meeting and as a result, Automotive Industry Standard AIS-140 came into existence. AIS-140 applies at device level that includes construction and target vehicle level approvals.
AIS-140 requires that all public transport vehicles in India be equipped with vehicle tracking devices with emergency button. AIS-140 lists out detailed specifications for the device to meet with respect to all facets of the product.
2. When does this mandate come into force?
AIS-140 was supposed to be implemented on April 1, 2018. However, it was deferred by one year and planned to be enforced from April 1, 2019. But, new Gazette Notification No. S.O. 5453 (E) & G.S.R. 1081(E) by Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) dated October 25, 2018 and November 2, 2018 mandates all public transport vehicles and national permit vehicles shall be equipped with tracking devices adhering to AIS-140 from January 1, 2019.
From April 1, 2019, all devices shall mandatorily support the Indian constellation NavIC for location services in addition to GPS.
3. Why is there a need for such a mandate at this point of time?
AIS-140 mandate was prompted because of a couple of horrific incidents involving safety of occupants in public transport vehicles. This prompted the government to come out with a standard called AIS-140 to ensure safety of occupants in the public transport vehicles. While there were tracking vehicles being used by fleets in India, AIS-140 ensured standardization of such devices in terms of specifications and performance.
4. What are the underlying technologies / components used in implementing the AIS-140 mandate?
There are several technologies / components that need to get together in order to fulfil the requirements of AIS-140. These are listed below –
- GNSS with NavIC: This is a location sensor that provides the latitude and longitude of the device periodically. It uses the Indian constellation NavIC in addition to the GPS satellites for positioning
- GSM/GPRS: This is a modem that provides data connectivity over the cellular network
- E-SIM: Embedded SIM is a SIM in the form of an integrated circuit (IC). The e-SIM offers several advantages over the conventional SIM card. It can hold multiple profiles, it cannot be easily removed from the PCB as it is soldered rather than slotted and it can be qualified for automotive use
- Automotive power handling: Electronics in a vehicle is subject to raw power supply with surges. The device has to make use of protection circuits to ensure reliable operation of the device in the vehicle
- Back-up battery: Under situations where the connection of the device to the vehicle battery is cut-off, the device shall have a back-up battery in order to continue transmitting the essential data to the server
- SOS button: A push button that is installed in the vehicle and connected to the device for sensing an emergency
- Digital inputs and outputs: These are protected interfaces to either read from or write into vehicle interfaces. Examples of digital input and output are Ignition input of the vehicle and headlamp ON/OFF control
- Analog inputs: There are several signals generated in the vehicle that are analog in nature. These can be read over analog inputs of the device
- RS-232: A serial port is the most common way for a device to support integration of external sensors like RF ID, digital fuel sensor, digital temperature sensor etc.
All the above is combined into a VTU hardware on which the firmware is programmed to transmit various bits of information in a defined format of AIS-140.
5. Does it mean that my car (which is for personal use) should also be fitted with this device?
The AIS-140 is being mandated for public transport commercial vehicles. Hence, a vehicle that is being used only for personal use does not fall in the ambit of AIS-140.
6. How does an end user benefit by having AIS-140 compatible system in the vehicle?
Before AIS-140, commercial vehicles could use any class of tracking devices – from inexpensive imported products to more sophisticated ones. The device performance varied between each unit. The data formats supported by each device again was different. Hence, the data from the devices were collected by the device original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or a system integrator (SI) and derived services (from a basic tracking service to advanced reportage) were being offered to the end user. Emergency situations in a vehicle also got relayed to private servers / call centres who in-turn had to alert the government machinery for help.
AIS-140 has defined a standard against which all vehicle tracking units will be benchmarked and certified. This results in the following advantages –
- Performance – All AIS-140 certified devices have to go through a rigorous testing at government approved labs such as ARAI or iCAT etc. This ensures that the performance of the devices in the field is guaranteed not just on paper. Further, the devices have to be subjected to annual re-certification which ensures that the production of devices retain the same quality
- Seamless portability – As all AIS-140 certified receiver follow the same data protocol, the end user can replace one device with a device from another manufacturer seamlessly without need to re-develop data processing backend or application. This offers flexibility to the end user to choose among several certified devices
- SOS button – To address occupant safety in public transport vehicles, the AIS-140 mandates the attachment of SOS button(s) to the VTU. Depending upon the vehicle type, the number of SOS buttons per vehicle will vary
- E-SIM – AIS-140 has mandated the use of embedded SIM’s and thereby support of multiple network switching. This has twin benefits – it prevents anyone from accessing or tampering with the SIM in case of a plastic SIM and it supports automatic network switching to provide continuous data service between the device and server
- I/O – AIS-140 lists down the interfaces to be supported by a VTU in terms of digital inputs, digital outputs, analog inputs and RS-232. These are used to connect to vehicle interfaces such as Ignition input, Immobilization, Driving loads such as AC ON/OFF, reading fuel level through analog sensors etc.
- Anti-theft measures – AIS-140 mandates the use of several technologies to detect / prevent vehicle / device theft / tampering. These are –
- Use of accelerometer and gyroscope through which the vehicle movement under IGN off condition can be detected. It can also help monitor driver behaviour when vehicle is on the move
- Device tamper switch alerts the end user about possible tampering of the device
- Internal backup battery supports un-interrupted operation for 4 hours in the case the vehicle mains is disconnected
- Internal GNSS and GSM antenna ensures continuous connectivity as there is no chance of the antenna cables getting cut
- IP-65 – This ensures that every AIS-140 certified device provides a minimum protection against dust and water ingress
7. What are the major issues faced during installation of these systems?
Installation of the AIS-140 system is one of the important aspects to the performance of these devices in the field. The major issues faced during installation are the following –
- Location for installation: Due to the presence of two wireless technologies (GNSS and GSM/GPRS) and their antennas, due care has to be given to the installation of the device in the vehicle. The installation is all the more important for GNSS in comparison to GSM as the signal strength of GNSS is many order weaker than that of GSM. It should be ensured that the device is installed at a place where there is a proper visibility of the sky (dashboard). The surrounding areas should be devoid of metallic surfaces as they can interfere with the performance of the antennas and also have a significant impact on the location accuracy
- Wiring: Since the device has to be connected to the vehicle battery either directly or through ignition, the routing of wiring plays an important role in minimizing EMI and also accidental damage to the harness
8. What happens when a Panic (SOS) button is pressed?
When a Panic (SOS) button is pressed, the following sequence of operations happen in the device –
- The device senses that the SOS button is pressed
- It inhibits sensing of further presses as the AIS-140 process requires that the subsequent detection of SOS button press shall happen only after it is released by server action
- The device forms an emergency packet as per format listed in the AIS-140 standard
- If latest location co-ordinates are not available, the last known valid fix is populated as part of the emergency packet
- The packet is sent on priority to the emergency server over GPRS
- If the GPRS connection is not available and / or server is down, an SMS attempt is made
- If GSM connection is also not available, the emergency record is stored in the device internal memory to be forwarded as soon as the network and / or server becomes available
9. What is the content of the data packet that is sent to the concerned authorities?
The data packet sent to the server contains the following parameters. These are listed as part of the AIS-140 document.
- Vendor id
- Firmware version
- Packet type
- Packet status
- Vehicle registration number
- GPS fix
- Latitude and Latitude direction
- Longitude and Longitude direction
- Number of satellites
- Network operator name
- Main power status
- Main input voltage
- Internal battery voltage
- Emergency status
- Tamper alert
- GSM signal strength
- Cell id
- Digital input status
- Digital output status
- Frame number
10. What is the procedure to install an AIS-140 certified device in a vehicle?
For a vehicle owner to get a AIS-140 device installed, there are a few processes to be followed. These are explained below –
- Identification of the right device
- The list of certified devices with contact details are provided in the websites of ARAI and iCAT. The purchaser shall browse through the list and select the device supplier and device model
- Procurement of devices
- The purchaser procures the required quantity of devices along with accessories from the device supplier
- Vehicle level installation of devices
- The purchaser identifies the vehicles in which the devices need to be installed and sends the vehicle and owner details to the device supplier
- RTO process
- The purchaser then takes the vehicle to the RTO (new vehicle for registration or old vehicle for fitment certificate)
- Verification of AIS-140 device in vehicle
- The RTO checks if an AIS-140 certified device is installed in the vehicle and if it is connected to the government server
- VLTD backend system
- BSNL has come out with a VLTD backend system that is managed by DIMTS
- Device details upload to VLTD backend
- The device supplier shall upload the device details and vehicle details along with the prescribed fee on the VLTD backend system. This establishes a link between the device and the vehicle in which it is installed
- Activation slip generation
- The backend system provides an activation slip that confirms that the device is communicating with the backend system
- Closure of vehicle registration / FC
- The RTO will issue the registration / FC against the activation slip
11. Does AIS-140 apply to tri-wheelers and trucks?
The AIS-140 in its current form does not apply to tri-wheelers and Trucks. However, it is expected that these vehicles too will soon fall under the ambit of AIS-140.
12. What is the typical cost of this system?
The different cost constituents of the AIS-140 certified unit are as follows –
- Device cost
- Cost of E-SIM IC with bootstrap
- Data plan annual subscription
- Cost of SOS button with harness
- BSNL VLTD fee
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Modernization of GNSS systems have demanded the validation of receiver performance for all new upcoming signals. The traditional live antenna analysis can no longer be used to validate all kinds of signal/environment/user scenarios which has lead to the introduction of GNSS simulators. With the help of GNSS simulators, users are now able to test the receivers in lab for all kind of critical signal conditions like modelling vehicle and satellite motion, GNSS signal structure, atmospheric and other environmental effects that can affect receiver performance.Thus, simulations can provide a controlled, reliable and repeatable way to test and adequately identify any receiver design limitations. In this article, the various challenges involved in testing GNSS receivers are highlighted. Methodologies to effectively validate the receivers using simulators are provided along with Accord GNSS Simulator products.