Cell Phone Support for Pay-Your-Way Hitch Hiking

November 27, 2008

Cell Phone Support for Pay-Your-Way Hitch Hiking
~James Dunn

I really like the idea of the cell phone becoming a universal tool. Remote Control, RFID credit card, security camera interface, PDA, …

wizard1961 had an idea of using the cell phone as an interface to provide for and promote paid hitch hiking; though wizard1961 did not provide any insight as to how to go about implementing his idea, it is still a great idea.

Keep in mind all this happens in software. The user simply selects stored destinations or enters one, and the Driver simply sees if the destination corresponds with their own. While the software guides both the Driver and Passenger effortlessly.

I am providing the following as a basis from which to build this proposed system.


Imagine living anywhere and being able to quickly get a ride at any time of the day or night with some security, and conversely being able to share the cost of transportation sometimes on your way from place to place. How many of us would simply cancel our car insurance until we were going on a trip. We might develop car pooling relationships more easily. Or maybe get rid of our cars altogether if we lived in a busy city. Single drivers could take advantage of car pool lanes. Traffic congestion could be reduced. The cost of fuel could effectively be reduced. Emissions could be reduced. We could afford to pay more for a car because our operating expenses would be reduced.

A thumb print, iris scan, or potentially a DNA scan security device can easily be incorporated into cell phones. This also provides support for broad categories of other applications. The security scan device would be used to initiate all transactions. Thus securing the cell phone from tempting a thief.

Iris Scan technology update

Current camera equiped cell phones that have a flash could incorporate Iris Scanner software into the cell phone without having to include any other hardware device. The camera in the cell phone would first take a picture of the person looking into the camera lens with the flash output set at a low intensity, then after a short time increase the flash to a higher intensity to dialate the eye a short time later; or vice versa. The average time it takes for a users eye to dialate a specific amount would be recorded by the cell phone software. If someone tried to use pictures to fake the camera, it wouldn’t work. This verifies the identity of the person, and that the person is still alive. Or optionally, the video mode could be used to scan the iris and detect the eye lid opening and closing within normal time frames, an alternate method of verifying that the person is alive and present.

Basic Operation

A Transportation Transaction (TT) service provider could promote the service on the internet interface of the cell phone. The GPS feature of the cell phone would identify the Passenger location, and the Passenger would use the internet interface to enter their desired destination. The TT Service would provide a moving map to guide the Driver to the Passenger, and to the desired destination. The TT Service would either be paid by a periodic flat fee or by a percentage of each transportation transaction. An alternative is that it would become a not for profit public service provided by the Federal Government; like the post office. Both Drivers and Passengers would be given a tax break to encourage using the system.

Rather than haggle over the price, an adjusted base price for the area would be in effect. Those Drivers wanting more (Commercial Taxi Drivers) would enter a base price and price per mile into their preferences. The cell phones would be linked to credit/debit cards and the TT service provider would be the only one with access to that information.

Participating Drivers would enter information about the vehicles they drive. Seating space available in the vehicle, storage space available in the trunk (easily remembered by computer for the make, model, and year of commercial cars and trucks), whether or not it is allowed to put packages in the seating areas, relative cleanliness of vehicle, and vehicle condition.

——————— Beginning of TT Service Sequence ——————-

The Driver would enter their destination into the TT Service before starting their vehicle.

The Passenger would enter their desired destination, number of people (each person would be required to enter their thumb print, iris scan, or DNA scan), and approximate number in grocery bag space needed, on their cell phone interface.

Based upon the Driver and Passenger preferences and current restrictions, the TT Service would automatically calculate the best way to get each Passenger to their destination; taking into account that an extra Passenger could reduce the enroute cost to each Passenger, and potentially provide greater payment to the Driver. If each extra Passenger pays 2/3 full price, the Driver receives more than if only picking up one Passenger. But this would fluctuate based upon the differing Passenger destinations. The TT Service would automatically select the best option for the Passenger and Driver, but would allow the Passenger and Driver to make exceptions (regular carpools for instance).

The TT Service would verify the GPS location of the Passenger is immediately adjacent to a roadway that allows for safe Passenger pickup. Persons more than 50 feet from a roadway would be instructed by the TT Service to stand where a vehicle can pick them up; and not process the transaction until the Passenger is in a location where they can legitimately be picked up. This helps to avoid competition with commercial taxi services where you can call for pickup at specific times from up in a high rise building; this keeps Passengers from causing Drivers to wait.

Commercial Taxi services benefit from this system because more people will stop driving because this service exists. On the occasions where no other Driver is available, the Passenger will have no other reasonable choice accept to use the Commercial Taxi service. Additionally, a Taxi having made a drop off can immediately be notified of another fare in their immediate vicinity and “bid” on the transaction; optioning to lower their fare rate to get a fare from where they are to where they need to go for their next passenger scheduled pickup; thereby reducing their operating expenses.

A notice would be sent by the TT service to all participating cell phones within the Passenger area with their destination displayed and the total amount to be paid to the Driver for the transaction if accepted. All Drivers who respond within 30 seconds are displayed on the Passenger cell phone as a list, sorted by the Driver statistical profile score, price, and estimated time of arrival. The Passenger can quickly look at questionable profile scores and choose the Driver of their choice.

After the Passenger commits their credit card to the transaction, and correspondingly commits the Drivers credit card to the transaction via the TT Service, the TT Service notifies both the Driver and Passenger of the transaction being implemented. The TT Service provides a simplified moving map on the Driver cell phone to guide the Driver to the Passenger location.

The Driver must arrive at the GPS location of the Passenger within 200% of the estimated time enroute, or the Driver is penalized 10% of the transaction and a new request is sent out to surrounding cell phones, and a notice to the Driver that their service is no longer needed, with 5% of the agreed upon transaction deposited into the Passenger credit card.

The TT Service monitors the GPS location of vehicles along the route to determine traffic jams, and either re-routes the Driver to the Passenger and extends the ETA; notifying both Driver and Passenger. Or, if the new ETA will exceed 300% of the original ETA the Passenger is provided the new ETA and is given an option of canceling the transaction at a cost of 10% of the transaction, so that they can choose a different Driver. The original Driver in the transaction receives no portion of the transaction; this discourages Drivers from stopping to pick up other passengers while enroute to the Passenger.

Within 1000 feet of the Driver arriving at the GPS location, the Passenger cell phone is rung by the TT service to notify them of the pending arrival of the Driver. This allows people to stand out of the weather until the Driver gets close. The Driver need only wait at the GPS location of the Passenger for two (2) minutes before departing and receiving the full amount of the transaction, regardless of their final destination unless the Passenger uses the cell phone camera to photograph the license plate number of the Driver vehicle or signals the TT Service of a related problem with the Driver or their vehicle (no place to sit, too dirty, no room for packages agreed upon, agressive nature of Driver, …) within that 2 minutes.

Upon arriving at the GPS location within the time agreed, the Passenger uses the camera built into their cell phone to both capture the license plate of the vehicle and to photograph the Driver of the vehicle. The Driver uses their cell phone camera to photograph the Passenger and their packages, all the pictures are automatically transmitted to the TT service to both document the transaction and provide for both the Driver and Passenger security, the Passenger verbally verifies the destination with the Driver, and boards the vehicle.

If the TT service notes that the vehicle does not match the Driver, the Driver picture does not match the picture on file, the Iris scan does not match the picture on file, or the iris scan identifies a criminal in a database, the transaction is terminated, the Passenger is advised to find alternative transportation, and the Driver is reported to the police. This prevents car theft of vehicles to provide taxi services and helps to capture criminals.

Conversely, if the Passenger picture does not match the iris scan, or the iris scan identifies a criminal in a database, then the Driver is advised not to let the Passenger in the car and to drive away, the police are notified as to the identity and whereabouts of the Passenger.

Optionally, car manufacturers could begin incorporating RFID chips in vehicles that cell phones would scan to allow further automation of this service.

Alternatively, the Passenger can cancel the transaction for any reason at a cost of 10% of the agreed upon rate. The Drivers record is annotated and pushed lower on the priority list and at any time the Passenger can note why they chose to cancel the transaction. If the Passenger does not continue on to their destination, then the notation is removed from the Drivers record and the Driver is awarded 10% of the agreed upon rate. A notation is put in the Passenger record and their priority for pickup is reduced and a standard notation is annotated for “changed their mind”.

A statistical profile is kept for each Passenger and Driver so that within one minute of a Passenger request for pickup, and the Drivers responding, the Passenger can select which Driver suits them based on the profile statistics, price, and ETA.

After the Passenger and Driver get on the road, a moving map guides the Driver to the Passenger desired location.

If the Driver deviates from the route by more than one missed turn, then the TT Service calls the Driver AND Passenger to verify their safety. Remember the thumb print initiates all transactions, so the identity of each person involved is known. If the Driver or Passenger fails to respond to the TT Service questions, then the Driver is notified to stop, the Passenger is notified to exit the vehicle, and each party is charged 50% of the transaction until the specifics are sorted out. If the Driver fails to stop or the Passenger fails to get out of the vehicle, the police are notified and vectored to the Drivers vehicle. If the Driver AND Passenger verify that a detour was required for road construction or additional passenger pickup, then the TT Service follows up periodically to ensure Passenger and Driver safety.

Correspondingly, Drivers can select whom they choose to pickup based upon Passenger profile statistics.

Upon arriving at the Passenger desired destination, the TT Service would prompt both the Driver and Passenger to take cell phone photos of each other, the packages, as necessary to document complaints, and enter the following information:

* Rate Your Experience with this Driver (0 – 9, 9 strongest)
o Friendly Nature of Driver
o Vehicle Cleanliness
o Vehicle Comfort
o Vehicle Mechanical Condition
o Vehicle Space Provided
o Overall Experience
o TT Service

* Rate Your Experience with this Passenger (0 – 9, 9 strongest)
o Friendly Nature of Passenger
o Passenger Cleanliness
o Passenger Destructive Nature
o Overall Experience
o TT Service

——————– End of TT Service Sequence ——————-

A separate TT Service webpage would allow Drivers to post their intentions to take city to city trips. Passengers desiring to make the trip with them would bid on the pricing and establish a pickup point. The TT Service would send reminder messages before the trip was to commence. Other coordinating issues would be incorporated as well.

Normal Sequence of Events for Passenger and Driver

Keep in mind all this happens in software. The user simply selects stored destinations or enters one, and the Driver simply sees if the destination corresponds with their own. While the software guides both the Driver and Passenger effortlessly.

From the Normal Passenger point of view:

1. Go to edge of roadway.
2. Access TT Service on cell phone.
1. Enter Destination.
1. If there are mulitple Drivers going near your destination, select one or more Drivers and prioritize them.
2. Do security scan (provide credit card info).
3. Wait for Pickup.
4. Photograph car and Driver.
5. Arrive at Destination.
1. Photograph Driver and rate the experience.

From the Normal Driver point of view:

1. Enter your destination before starting your vehicle.
2. Receive notice from TT Service of potential Pay-Your-Way Passenger.
1. See if desired Passenger destination coincides somewhat with Driver destination.
1. If there are multiple Passengers wanting to go your direction, select one or more.
2. Wait to see if one or more Passengers choose you
3. If selected, Accept Transaction.
4. Pull over momentarily to do security scan (enter credit card info).
3. Follow moving map directions to Passenger.
4. Photograph Passenger and packages.
5. Follow moving map to Passenger destination.
6. Arrive at destination.
1. Photograph Passenger and packages; rate the experience.

Alternative Uses for the Same System

This same system could be expanded to freight services so that truck loads are maximized and people with small trucks can provide shipping for people without trucks.

* The elderly and handicapped could have groceries, medications, and other vendor supplied materials delivered to their residence by pre-approved participating Drivers
o Federal and State programs could fund part of the transportation costs based on savings associated with current programs

The same system could be used by the police to automatically enforce restraining orders. If the two cell phones associated with the two people involved in a restraining order came within a certain distance, each would be asked to identify themselves, and directions would be given to avoid one another.

The same system could be used for parents to use to track who their kids associate with.

Employers could use the same system to track their employees and to look for ways to promote productivity.

* Maybe a group of employees interact on legitimate business so much that they should be grouped together.
* Employees making illegitimate trips for excessive socializing.
* Helping to keep employees with known personality conflicts away from each other.
* Establishing and controlling restricted areas to control excessive traffic or confidential materials.
* …

The same system could help employees coordinate complex tasking that requires different people with specific expertise to perform a function, in a particular sequence, with specific data, in more than one location at the same time.

* Production facility online calibration procedures to avoid shutting down the system and incurring great losses (this happens frequently in industry)
* Contractor coordination of multi-disciplines for managing Project Management timelines
o Real Estate Brokers
o Attorney’s
o Suppliers
o Surveyors
o Engineers & Architects
o Shippers
o Heavy equipment and crews
o Cement forms builders & foundation crew
o Plumbers
o Electricians
o Carpenters
o Hotshot Trucks and Drivers
o Landscapers
o …
* Networking Analyst procedures for installing complex networks
* Government employees can be tracked and coordinated to support public works without excessive waste
o Productivity issues
o Tracking theft
o Productivity Based Wage metrics
o Similar Project Management relationships as with contractors noted above
* Coordinating any meeting
* Coordinating any party
* Weddings
* Public Events
o this would allow people that didn’t even know an event was coming up to get involved based upon their preferences
o promoters could easily find people to volunteer to support an event
* Professionals could list themselves, expertise, and prices to support spur of the moment or planned needs by anyone
* Medical Centers would always know what expertise they had in-house at any moment
* Mass Casualty teams could form up and communicate more readily by knowing where all their resources are, and which people with cell phones were likely involved in the mass casualty.
o All medical, vendor, fire, police, as well as the government of local, state, adjacent state, and federal resources would be known and under control of the NSA
o The NSA would coordinate with FEMA, the FCC, FAA, CIA, FBI, and all the other government agencies to mitigate impact during mass casulty events.
* Emergency vehicle coordination to allow stop light timing modifications so that emergency response is more expeditious.
o During high speed chases, traffic is stopped in all directions to force fleeing vehicle off of roadway to stop weaving in and out around cars at high speed
o Drivers signaled to move right or left to clear a specific lane for an ambulance or police
o …


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