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Finnish Parking Pilot Taps RFID Tags and NFC Phones

The system enables the city of Oulu to chronicle how long a car is parked, sends reminders to the driver and automatically deducts payment from a designated account.
By Claire Swedberg
Sep 07, 2007The Finnish city of Oulu, together with RFID systems integrator ToP Tunniste, has begun piloting a parking system on streets and in garages that would allow drivers to pay for parking with their mobile phones. Pauli Tossavainen, the company's managing director, says ToP Tunniste is providing its SmartParking solution, part of its SmartTouch product family, for the pilot.

Launched on Sept. 3 in Oulu's city center, the trial involves 50 participants equipped with SmartParking mobile phones and SmartTouch parking stickers containing NXP Semiconductors' Mifare Ultralite 13.56 MHz chips, which comply with the ISO 14443-A standard. Pilot participants apply a SmartTouch sticker to the windshield of their car. The Nokia 6131 phones used in the trial contain a Near Field Communication (NFC) RFID module. The city attached nearly 400 location RFID tags to street lampposts, parking meters and garage gates throughout the area.

A driver parking in a space taps an RFID-enabled mobile phone against the sticker, causing the phone's NFC module to receive the windshield tag's unique ID number.

A driver parking in a space on the street taps his RFID-enabled mobile phone against the sticker, causing the phone's NFC module to receive the windshield tag's unique identification number. The driver then taps the phone against the nearest location sticker. The phone receives that sticker's unique ID number, Tossavainen says, and sends both the vehicle and location numbers to the SmartTouch server hosted by ToP Tunniste, via a GPRS connection provided by TeliaSonera.

The system chronicles how long the car is in that space, and the phone sends a reminder message each hour to ensure the person does not drive away without logging out. When it's time to depart, the driver taps the windshield sticker with the mobile phone once more, and the phone displays a message showing how long the car was parked there and how much money will be deducted from a designated bank or credit card account.

When parking at garages operated by Oulun Pysäköintitalo, the driver taps the cell phone against the garage gate. An interrogator receives the cell phone's ID number and begins the transaction, causing the gate to open. Upon leaving the garage, the driver again taps the phone on the exit gate, ending the transaction.

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