E Ink Holdings has partnered with Papercast Ltd to supply a solar powered e-paper passenger information display technology for a pioneering smart bus stop project, soon to pilot in Aizuwakamatsu city, Japan.
The project is administered by Aizu Riding Car Development, a consortium initiated by Michinori Holdings, operator of the Aizuwakamatsu bus service, Aizu Bus. Michinori is working alongside NAVITIME, KDDI Corporation, Toppan and Weathernews Corporation.
The smart bus stop was unveiled at an official ceremony on 17 February 2018
The purpose of the consortium is to improve service convenience and reduce ongoing costs by digitally connecting bus stops. It will see the replacement of traditional paper signage with real-time passenger information on electronic displays. E-paper has been selected by the consortium as the preferred technology and by partnering with E Ink, Papercast’s solar powered, wireless bus stop display technology will be used.
“Using E Ink display components, Papercast has developed a platform specifically to meet the real-time bus stop information requirements of operators and their users. With a focus on innovation, Papercast offers a unique range of features with up to 9-times more energy efficiency than comparable alternatives”, said Bogdan Pavlic, Chief Technology Officer at Papercast.
“E-paper works just like paper with sunlight readability and high contrast, with the added benefit of real time updates, making it an ideal information display for bus stops. Since E Ink’s electronic ink is bistable, meaning the display consumes power only when the image or content changes, it is the perfect display to run on solar cells,” said Dr. FY Gan, Executive Vice President of Sales Center of E Ink Holdings. “E Ink’s goal is to deliver revolutionary products, user experiences and environmental benefits through advanced technology development. We are glad to co-work with Papercast and the value chain to enable this new application.”
In Japan, there are 500,000 bus stops nationwide, and nearly 90% have no power supply – making an off-the-grid, cost effective installation a prerequisite in this project. By combining E Ink low power display technology with low power, wide area (LPWA) wireless technology, the bus stop displays can be easily installed using solar power only – without power and network cables.
“It is expected that this will facilitate widespread fulfilment across the bus network in the future, therefore benefitting more users and helping to boost service adoption,” comments Rado Skender, Director of Business Development at Papercast.
Managed remotely through the Papercast data management platform, the multi-lingual displays will present live bus arrivals, timetables, route data, route transfers, service alterations (planned and unplanned) and a range of other travel advice.
“Providing this information in real-time to bus stops will improve the customer experience, remove barriers to usage and ultimately increase ridership among both residents and visitors alike,” adds Rado.
Additionally, remotely updating content on digital displays removes the need to replace paper timetables, which quickly go out of date and do not always reflect the actual service timing (unexpected congestion and other service disruptions). Arrival information can now be provided to better manage and meet user expectations.
Papercast was launched in March 2016 after comprehensive field testing. It was designed, developed and produced in its entirety based on E Ink display technology. One year later the advanced quad-core e-paper driver (EPD) board was launched to power the ‘next generation’ of e-paper displays and in July 2017, a new ruggedized IP65-rated enclosure was introduced. Papercast is currently deployed in more than 20 countries worldwide.