IIT Madras researchers develop ‘OptRoute’ mobile app for inter-city goods transport-

The researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras have developed a mobile application to enable easier and more efficient transport of goods within cities. As per the statement, the faculty members, students and alumni of the institute have designed the application.

How does this application work? As per the institute, OptRoute connects a driver with the consumer and does not take any commission or onboarding fee. The payment from the consumer goes directly to the driver, with no intermediaries.

Brains behind the project

The first version of the app has been developed and commercialised through OptRoute Logistics, an IIT Madras-incubated start-up co-founded by Prof NS Narayanaswamy, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, IIT Madras and Anuj Fulia, an IIT Madras alumnus. The basic ideas behind the app were presented during the 2020 Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference held in Cancun, Mexico.

“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 statement added.

Further, throwing some light on 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 the unavailability of return load for transporters and vehicle capacity under-utilisation.”

“The current market of this domain is highly unorganised making it inefficient. It is also ripe for the deployment of technology-based solutions to reach the goals set by the National Logistics Policy, 2022,” he added.

Disclosing the future targets and the highlights of the mobile application, Co-founder of OptRoute Logistics and IIT Madras alumnus, Anuj Fulia, said, “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 per cent 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 plus cities.”

In which states is this application available?
Currently, the app is 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.

OptRoute USPs

Listing out the USPs (Unique Selling Points) when compared to similar existing services in India, the institute mentioned these points:

– Zero-commission per transaction and nominal subscription-based service model
– Direct payment from consumer to driver
– High scalability of the software system and operations
– A single app for both drivers and customer

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