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NXP, Siemens team up for toll system

Posted: 08 May 2008     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:toll system  GPS  GSM  OBU  automotive 

NXP and Siemens Mobility forged alliances in developing NXP's single chip on-board unit system based on GPS and GSM, the Automotive Telematics On Board Unit Platform (ATOP), for use in private vehicles.

The system can be used simply and cost-effectively as it exploits existing GPS/GSM mobile networks. It is not necessary to install expensive infrastructure such as toll stations and drivers can install the on-board unit for private cars in just a few minutes. The system is secure and facilitates easy toll collection. Commercial use is planned for the first half of 2010.

Governments, authorities and institutions all over the world are becoming increasingly interested in flexible road pricing solutions suitable for all car drivers and can automatically charge customers for a car journey. In addition, they must not impair the traffic flow and help ensure that the number of vehicles on the roads is kept within reasonable limits.

Siemens and NXP are working together to create a viable, practical solution for the market. NXP will supply a chip and basic software, which combines all the functions for toll collection such as GPS, GPRS and NFC modules. Interfaces for flexible telematics applications such as additional traffic information, including the Smart X high-safety application, will be provided on a single-chip platform, which is fully automotive-grade. Siemens will develop the on-board unit (OBU) and integrate NXP's single chip and software.

The previous toll system from Siemens Mobility will be considerably improved on in terms of function range. The ATOP-based OBU receives GPS satellite signals and uses GSM-based standard radio technology for transmitting data to the central system for toll calculation. The system also includes a non-removable adhesive vignette, which is fitted with a radio chip (RFID) and attached to the windscreen. It ensures that the OBU is actually present in the vehicle being operated for its intended use. The RFID vignette can also be used for other applications such as parking space management.

How it works
The price of a car journey can be determined in a number of ways. The distance travelled and the time of day chosen for the trip are the main factors, but the type of vehicle and fuel consumption or CO2 emissions are also possible references. Simple, secure toll charging is ensured by means of monthly invoicing, but in order to ensure privacy, a prepaid card can be purchased instead. In this case, no details of the driver or the route are disclosed.

The current fee for car journeys can be displayed by the OBU at all times. The police or authorised monitoring bodies can carry out a check at any time to make sure the driver is using the system in its intended use, enabling easy enforcement. For this purpose, an NFC portable device will be provided to read out information from the vignette on the windscreen. The vignette also serves as a security mechanism in conjunction with the OBU to ensure that not only the OBU specifically assigned to the vehicle can be used and not exchanged with another vehicle.

The OBU is being developed to consider the conditions inside the vehicle. This is necessary for it to withstand extreme temperatures. The lifetime of the unit is not dependent on the lifetime of the vehicle. The system is being developed in such a way that it can be easily fitted in the vehicle and, in the event of damage, can easily be replaced.

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