When it comes to entering paid car parks, sometimes the angle of the ticketing machine may be angled weirdly which will make it inconvenient for you to reach out and grab the ticket. Having to line up at the cashier or auto pay machine when you’re done with your shopping can also prove to be a hassle, especially when you have your hands full and need to search for your ticket and money, and let’s not talk about those times when you realize that the smallest note you have in your purse/wallet is a hundred dollar bill that the machine won’t accept.
Thankfully engineers at Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics have come up with something easier. They’ve developed an RFID (radio-frequency identification) tag system that would allow drivers to drive in and out of parking lots with ease and have their parking fees being automatically deducted from an online account.
For those familiar with Singapore will realize that the country already has something similar in place with their “AutoPass” card which is inserted into a card reader that is placed on the windscreen of their car. Upon reaching a parking lot, the machine will scan the card, display its value and allow entry and will do the same upon exit. The value will be stored on the card which can be topped up at 7-11 convenient stores. However it is relatively bulky and can be rather unsightly, not to mention that the card’s monetary value can be used outside of car parks and can be used to pay for groceries and meals which makes it ripe for stealing. Perhaps the RFID solution designed for Munich’s motionID technologies could prove to be a more elegant solution.
The technology uses an adhesive foil RFID chip transponder which is mounted on the inside of the car’s windshield. Measuring at just 1.5 by 10 centimeters (0.5 by 4 inches) it is pretty unintrusive. The device known as VIATAG is now in use in car parks in the cities of Essen, Duisburg and Munich, with the researchers believing that the device could see other uses in the future.