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WebTaxi Introduction

WebTaxi is a web based taxi service that allows customers to go to a website and request a taxi by specifying the source and destination. WebTaxi immediately computes the route and charges the customer's credit card. When the Taxi arrives at your doorstep, WebTaxi will inform the customer by e-mail, page.

Basically WebTaxi works well with people having wireless web access from PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants). Imagine a scenario where you are sitting in a restaurant and you need a Taxi service. You go to the WebTaxi website and request a Taxi to your home. WebTaxi comes back and tells you exactly how much it will cost you. It can even tell you how long you will have to wait for the taxi. You continue to chat while you wait for the taxi to show up. As soon as the taxi arrives, your PDA informs you that the taxi is waiting for you!

WebTaxi: Behind the Scene

For the above scenario to work, a lot of things have to happen behind the scene. Here is a description of what happens when you book a taxi from WebTaxi.

Taxi Request

  • Customer goes to the WebTaxi website and requests a taxi service, specifying the starting and ending point of the service.

  • WebTaxi server uses a mapping service to compute the route between the source and the destination.

  • The mapping service returns the route, estimated time and GPS coordinates for the source and destination addresses.

  • WebTaxi uses this information to compute the total bill for the customer.

Locating a Taxi

  • WebTaxi then uses a Mobile Messaging service to broadcast the GPS coordinates of the starting and destination points to all the taxis registered with WebTaxi. The request asks only taxis that can get to the starting point in five minutes to respond.

  • All the taxis in the system receive the request. Taxis calculate the time they will take to get to the starting point as follows:

    • Free taxi: A free taxi calculates its current distance from the starting point and uses it to estimate the time it will take to get to the starting point.

    • Occupied taxi: Occupied taxi adds the time remaining for the current service and adds the time it will take to get from the end point of the current service to the starting point of the new service.

  • If no response is received from any of the Taxis, WebTaxi quickly resends the broadcast, this time allowing taxis that can get to the starting point in ten minutes to respond back to the WebTaxi server.

  • Let's say the system hears from two taxis that can respond back in 10 minutes. The system will offer the taxi service to the taxi driver that can respond fastest.

Selecting a Taxi

  • The taxi driver gets the request flashed on his or her PDA along with a voice prompt giving details of the next taxi service.

  • The taxi driver just says yes or no to the next service. In this case he accepts the next service. Once this service is accepted, the Taxi will be considered busy by the Web Taxi Server (WTS).

  • The voice recognition software in the PDA passes on the input to the software handling the WebTaxi server interface.

  • At this point, the WebTaxi server is informed about the acceptance of service by a message.

  • The WebTaxi server then displays a page on the customers PDA informing him or her of the time it will take for the taxi to arrive. It even reports the license plate number of the taxi that will be serving the customer.

Taxi Arrives

  • When the taxi arrives at the start point, the taxi driver clicks the “ready for service” button on the screen.

  • WebTaxi server then pages/e-mails the customer to inform him or her about the arrival of the taxi.

  • When the customer boards the taxi, the driver clicks start of service button on the PDA screen.

  • The complete end point information will then be passed to the taxi at the start of service.

  • The taxi driver will then be guided by the PDA about the directions to the end point.

  • When the service ends, the taxi driver clicks the end service button on his or her PDA.

  • The WebTaxi server will then credit the money into the taxi driver's account (after deducting the commission).