Emirati engineer Fahim Almas invents Safe Bus — an AI and IoT powered device to improve school bus safety
Priya Wadhwa
Artificial Intelligence

Emirati engineer Fahim Almas invents Safe Bus — an AI and IoT powered device to improve school bus safety

In conversation with Fahim Almas, Founder and CEO of Almas Robotics.

Emirati mechatronics and aviation engineer Fahim Almas has invented an artificial intelligence based IoT device, called Safe Bus to improve the safety of children in school buses.

The IoT device is designed to prevent any children from being left behind by alerting drivers when there is a child who is still on board the school bus when the journey is over.

On a call with SME 10X, Fahim Almas revealed that the device is currently in testing phase and that he is in talks with schools and bus service providers to understand more of their needs and improve the device before launching mass production.

Almas is a member of the Hamdan Innovation Incubator, part of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment for SME Development (Dubai SME), as well as Dubai Startup Hub, the entrepreneurship arm of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The Safe Bus

Safe Bus is a smart device that uses artificial intelligence to track the number of passengers of school buses. It currently uses three sensors on the bus door through which it monitors passenger movement, recording up to 1 meter from the door, which helps it know whether children are getting on or off; thereby keeping a count of passengers on-board the bus.

The device starts the count of passengers as soon as the bus is turned on, as it needs electric connection to work, and runs until the bus is turned off. In case the count shows people to be on board the school bus are more than zero, it immediately sounds a loud alarm and sends SMS notification to the driver as well as the transportation company to alert them and ensure children are not left behind.

Sometimes there are instances of children hiding under seats or falling asleep on the journey. In such cases, it can be highly beneficial to the drivers, parents and the school to know if there are any children that have not been dropped off yet.

Currently it uses three sensors, but has the capability to add up to six sensors. There are challenges that it could potentially face, such as when children get on in pairs or groups, but this can be resolved through more sensors.

I have done this with my own initiative and passion, investing my own time, money and energy to see children travel safer. It should never be the case that parents have to worry about their children being left behind in the bus.
Fahim Almas, Founder and CEO of Almas Robotics

He said, “We have high expectations for this device as it brings a new concept to the market that addresses a serious problem in an innovative and seamless way. Our conversations with schools and transportation companies have been encouraging so far, and we hope one day to see the device used in every school bus in the UAE. It is solutions like these that will lead Dubai to achieve its ambitious vision of becoming one of the world’s smartest cities in the near future.”

Almas Robotics

Founded in April 2019 by Fahim Almas, Almas Robotics is a design company that solves problems with the expertise of robotics, artificial intelligence, 3D printing and programming.

Earlier in 2019, Almas Robotics launched its first product — M First — which is a robotic arm.

The idea struck Almas when he was still studying in University. He said he has a real passion for coding and likes to try out his codes on robots. However, at that time there wasn't any robotic arm available for him to test out his coding at his home.

The big robots at the universities are expensive and can be dangerous as they contain powerful motors, which is why one needed to be supervised and coding experiments were restricted and limited. This puts a limitation on how much he could experiment.

Almas Robotics is a design company. When someone approaches us with a problem, we study his environment, develop a solution, make the prototype and give them a complete concept. Once they are happy with that, we push it to the factories for mass production, during which we only supervise the production.
Fahim Almas, Founder and CEO of Almas Robotics

When he started Almas Robotics, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum had announced the allocation of AED 1.5 billion to build a new generation of schools to include robotics learning lab. During that time, Almas had the idea to address the issue that he faced during his education, by building a robotic arm that children could test their coding on.

He built the design of all the parts to be cost effective by being able to be developed using a 3D printer. The designs are available on a one-year subscription basis and schools can purchase it to print it themselves for the children. Almas can also help them set-up and maintain the 3D printer station. Moreover, once the parts are printed, it can be assembled within 10-15 minutes without the need for screws.

The M Second is a more advanced version of the first, as it includes decision making. Almas explained, "if it wants to travel a distance, it can think in an intelligent way whether it should go to the left or the right if there is an obstacle," teaching them the beginning of artificial intelligence.

Since then he has conducted a workshop with children, which has garnered a very positive response, and is looking forward to conducting more of these to inspire children's interest in robotics, one of the most important fields of the future.

I very proud of the children. I am teaching them to be makers more than teaching them to use robots. It's to let them be and give them the freedom to experiment and learn.
Fahim Almas, Founder and CEO of Almas Robotics

Fahim Almas added that, “Education is a major focus area for Almas Robotics and we have big plans to work with schools in the UAE to introduce children to the exciting world of robotics, 3D printing and artificial intelligence through interactive workshops. The youth of today is extremely tech-savvy, but what’s missing is access to education and training of Fourth Industrial Revolution skills that will prepare them for the future,”