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New Tolling Security and Speed Requirements with UCODE DNA

Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) has evolved since first introduced in 1989.  Originally implemented to serve local needs, ETC systems now serve millions of customers, collecting billions of dollars in tolls. These automated systems ease traffic congestion across our roads, bridges and tunnels, reducing our commute times.

As the number of high-speed, road tolling and managed lane systems increases, their expansion naturally extends to adjacent municipal areas. It was only a matter of time before tolling authorities began discussions about cooperation and accepting one another’s transponders in their systems. This is not too difficult a goal when compatible technologies exist.  However, as these inter-regional relationships extended to bordering areas where disparate technologies were deployed, challenging technical and commercial deployment issues were exposed.

To address these challenges, The International Bridge Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) is leading the charge to formulate a National Interoperability Protocol Standard. 

Long-range, UHF RFID technology conforms to well-established international standards that can well serve these challenges of high-speed vehicle identification. Passive UHF RFID technology delivers high-speed reading performance with a standardized technology, offering greater compatibility and the opportunity for sourcing from various suppliers to keep costs down.

However, because some RFID tags can be cloned, it is best to consider methods that prevent such hacking. NXP Semiconductors’ UCODE DNA chip incorporates tamper-evident features, such as cryptographic algorithms, to deter thieves and counterfeiters while offering high performance even at high speeds.

The UCODE DNA chip uses dynamic, cryptographic authentication to communicate with the RFID reader, unlike other transponders that use unique TIDs, digital signatures, encrypted user memory, passwords or custom commands based on data stored in static memory. The tag transmits not only a unique identification number, but it also provides a secure proof that its identity is original and has not been tempered with. Furthermore, it offers privacy protection and protects the data it carries so that it cannot be read by unauthorized readers. Only a reader with access to the relevant secure cryptographic key(s) is able to decipher the data which the tag sends back encrypted and unique in every transaction.

Paired with RFID tags using the UCODE DNA chip, FEIG readers are ideal for tolling systems to ensure secure transactions and protect against fraud. FEIG readers are so fast and accurate that cars can pass through toll-collection points at very high speeds without slowing down at all – with vehicle identification and authentication tested at more than 150 miles per hour. This makes the system ideal for automatic vehicle identification applications ranging from toll collection, vehicle access control and fleet management to electronic vehicle registration (EVR).

That’s why Russian road-pricing integrated-solutions pioneer, RUTOLL, collaborated with NXP to provide multi-lane free flow tollways utilizing secured RFID tags from UCODE DNA progressive technology and FEIG ELECTRONICS RFID readers. 

Using passive RFID technology, the small, lightweight tags are easy to adhere to a windshield or license plate, and they draw power from the reader’s antenna so they don’t require a battery. Moreover, RUTOLL is utilizing the versatile RFID tags add-on applications, such as automating payments for vehicle registration, access to paid parking areas or entry into restricted areas. In fact, considering all the benefits that RFID technology has to offer for vehicle authentication and high-speed tolling, growth of RFID in transportation is not slowing down anytime soon.

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