Electronic vehicle identification(EVI) technology helps fight crime.

Dec '99 Asset Management, EAS, RFID, Transport (Industry)

Automated Identification Technologies (AIT) has launched a technology, dubbed the Link-it electronic vehicle identification (EVI) system, that will assist law enforcement authorities in their fight against crime, particularly in the automotive and transport industry.

Organisations such as Business Against Crime, the National Crime Prevention Strategy as well as NAAMSA and its German counterpart, the VDA, are showing keen interest in this AIT researched and developed Technology.

“The EVI system will enhance automatic vehicle identification at high speed utilising the Link-it active radio frequency identification (RFID) technology,” said Don Small, Chief Operations Officer at AIT.

“Because of the combination of its user-friendly read/write radio frequency identification vehicle tagging system that can be installed in a vehicle coupled with a roadside or a handheld reader, the technology is causing a considerable amount of interest in the industry,” said Mike Victor, Chairman of AIT.

Unique identification code

The vehicle tagging system transmits a unique identification code in different operational modes, which includes the ISO vehicle identification number (VIN) of the vehicle. The vehicle tagging system operates in a manufacturing as well as an operational mode. It gives manufacturers the electronic means to identify a vehicle during the manufacturing process. Production readers positioned in the production facility are able to read the vehicle tagging system and write to tagged vehicles at any time during the manufacturing process. Once the vehicle is released for distribution this mode ceases.

On the other hand, the operational mode provides authorities and other authorised users with the electronic means of identifying a vehicle. The VIN number is the basis for this identification.

Mobile roadside readers

Meantime, mobile roadside readers (RSR) poll the environment for vehicles. They can receive and interpret the transmitted messages and write back to the tag to confirm or change the status, store the data, or download it on the reader network. It also allows law enforcement authorities to use handheld readers to verify VIN numbers and a vehicle’s status.

According to AIT, “Apart from the electronic vehicle identification system, it is attracting attention for its use in electronic number plates for vehicle licensing and identifying non-payers; for automated toll road payment systems and automated traffic control re-routing on busy highways.

“It has the capacity to assist planning and infrastructure development in traffic studies and can be used in combination with an associated onboard computer in a fleet management system. The authorities have welcomed its valuable contribution to crime prevention in the vehicle industry and the spin off benefits to the insurance industry.”

The system is able to keep a complete record of any given vehicle from the date of manufacture until it is scrapped. The technology could be used to identify a vehicle and determines its legal owner, licence status, and road-worthiness or ownership status. It has the capacity to interface and integrate with other related technologies and databases to support more powerful management systems controlled by the state and stakeholders.

Realtime resource control

The tag has a receiver that detects the external transmissions for the various readers in the system. The transmitter transmits data from the vehicle to the various readers in the system. The microprocessor provides the processing functions necessary for the various decisions required. A flash memory is included to store data that may be lost in the event of total power failure, to prevent the VIN data being lost. Finally, an internal power source kicks in when power is not available from the vehicle.

“Our vision is realtime resource control,” says Victor. “Tagging is a rapidly growing industry, with over US $454 million (R2,8 billion) forecast for the year 2000 in the USA alone. The trend towards dynamic asset tracking is not yet obvious, but with leading edge Link-it technology and the low price structure, the application and the market growth will change dramatically. A paradigm shift will take place as this technology and the cost effectiveness of the products enables realtime resource control, attracting many integrators and end-users.”

For details contact Danie Lategan, Automated Identification Technologies on tel: (011) 325 0320, or e-mail: daniel@linkit.co.za

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