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Efkon Announces HOT Technology for Electronic Tolling

Based on RFID and IR technology, the device aims to help ensure that drivers pay their fare share when using high-occupancy toll lanes.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
The HOT Shot device transmits the driver's account identification number to the RFID interrogators, which are already in place in existing electronic toll-collection sites. It transmits the passenger information via the IR transponder, to an IR reader installed by the tolling agency. IR is used instead of RFID for transmitting passenger data, says Bowrey, because it can transmit a larger amount of data than RFID while the car is moving at highway speeds through the HOT lane.

The HOT Shot device runs on a lithium-ion battery. This battery is periodically recharged by a small solar panel on its windshield-facing side. The company claims it can power the device for 10 years.

The back-end software Efkon provides will link into existing toll systems' software, allowing it to charge accounts according to the number of occupants. It will also be able to charge according to time, in the event that rates change based on the time of day. No tolling authority is yet using or testing the HOT Shot system, says Bowrey, but the company is pursuing organizations that have already deployed or are using HOT lanes in a several states, including California and Texas. These tolling agencies use active RFID transponders issued to drivers to charge single riders (excluding motorcyclists), while cars with two occupants (or, in some cases, three) ride for free during all but peak traffic hours.

To bring the platform to market, Efkon licensed UHF 915 MHz active RFID tags and electronic tolling technology from Sirit, a provider of automatic vehicle identification and electronic tolling systems. In 2002, TransCore, another provider of RFID-enabled electronic toll technologies, introduced a passive UHF RFID system that also matches drivers to vehicles (see RFID Speeds Border Crossings). That solution, however, does not authenticate the driver and occupants via biometrics. TransCore recently announced that its eGo RFID electronic toll-collection platform is seeing rapid adoption—better than anticipated, in fact—by Puerto Rico's highway and transportation authority (see RFID News Roundup).

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