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NXP powers India railway smart cards

Posted: 18 Aug 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:India railway system  smart card  contactless ticketing 

NXP Semiconductors announced that its secure MCU-based chip technology MIFARE DESFire was chosen to power contactless smart cards for automatic fare collection using Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (ATVMs) by India's Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS). Indian Railways will utilise NXP's technology solutions to drive operational efficiencies and improve passenger experience for over 1.80 crore passengers who ride the train every day.

CRIS developed the ATVM as part of an unreserved ticketing system (UTS), for which it has won a Prime Minister's Award for excellence in public administration from 2006 to 2008. A 28-member project team, led by Vikram Chopra, director for operations of CRIS, received the award on behalf of the Indian Railways from the Prime Minister last year.

CRIS had initially in 2007 developed the smart card based contactless ticketing solutions using NXP's MIFARE 1KB classic chip in Mumbai Suburban Railway and Chennai, wherein approximately 5 lakh cards were issued to passengers in the Central/Western Railway at Mumbai and Southern Railway at Chennai.

The user-friendly ATVMs will be rolled out across five major cities in India, namely New Delhi, Secunderabad, Kolkata, Bhubaneswar and Pune. Together with card and inlay-manufacturer Siepmann's Card Systems, NXP will provide MIFARE DESFire-based ICs for approximately 6.5 Lakh contactless cards over a period of one year. This project is expected to go live in September 2009 and will initially be rolled out in two cities. The smart card ticketing solution developed by CRIS using NXP's MIFARE DESFire technology is based on the international ISO 14443A standard, and provides industry-leading levels of security. This solution in its entirety has been conceptualised, designed and manufactured in India to meet Indian commuter needs under the guidance and vision of CRIS, enabled by NXP's technologies and ecosystem partners.

Improved commute
The vision of CRIS and its development of the ATVM have been instrumental in upgrading the ticketing systems; thereby replacing traditional paper based ticketing with smart cards. The adoption of contactless ticketing will greatly reduce queues at manual ticketing counters, prove economically viable and ultimately drive process efficiencies. This partnership with NXP and Siepmann's Card Systems will help CRIS provide a secure, cost-effective and superior offering to commuters on Indian Railways.

P Vishwanath Bhas, managing director of Siepmann's Card Systems Pvt. Ltd said, "We have worked closely with NXP to develop a cost-effective, manageable product that will withstand Indian conditions and provide innovative solutions to transport systems."

"We see a significant growth in the use of contactless smart card technology in transport systems in India, and are well positioned to cater to the needs of current transport infrastructure upgrades, especially road and rail projects. The project with CRIS reiterates our position as a leading player in the field of contactless smart card ICs used in public transit networks and access management worldwide," commented Ashok Chandak, senior director, global sales and marketing for India for NXP. "NXP's secure technology platforms are ideal for multi-application smart cards in transport schemes, e-government and identity applications, and have been used in several projects such as the multipurpose national identity cards with the Government of India," Chandak added.

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