Touch ‘n Go’s radio frequency identification (RFID) system for toll payments, which has come under fire of late due to a troubled rollout on the North-South Highway last month, has found an ally in the form of the Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii). Its CEO Datuk Madani Sahari told The Sun that the technology will help phase out toll booths and eliminate congestion.
“The RFID is just part of the evolution of transport technology, moving us towards intelligent transport systems,” he said, adding that while current discussions have centred around the technical issues plaguing the system, the technology will improve over time. “We will be able to scale up operational capabilities in the near future.”
Madani reiterated the comments made by the works ministry late last year, saying that RFID should be seen as a stepping stone towards more advanced technologies revolving around an Intelligent Transport System (ITS), a form of vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication.
He also mentioned that the objective of any highway has always been to move large volumes of traffic across long distances with as little congestion as possible. “However, putting toll booths in the path of moving traffic is a major source of congestion, which is counter-productive.”
Madani said that toll collection has to be made as efficient as possible to minimise any inconvenience for the motorists paying to use the highway. The adoption of RFID, he added, was the first milestone in the journey towards a multi-lane free flow (MLFF) system for high-speed open road tolling.
“MLFF is one of the many elements that make up ITS. In ITS, information and communications technologies are used to improve transportation as well as mitigate or solve problems,” he said, adding that ITS applications and solutions improve safety, security and reliability on our roads. “It helps travellers to better managed their travel time, routes and choice of transport. It also helps to reduce congestion, pollution and loss of productivity.”
According to Madani, ITS requires new and upcoming innovations in artificial intelligence, Internet of things (IoT), smart city developments, connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV) and connected and cooperative systems as part of the fourth industrial revolution. “MARii is working on various technologies that are part and parcel of ITS. These include systems integration and cloud infrastructure for e-payment solutions, big data management and intelligent grid technology,” he said.
Madani added that the implementation of RFID is part of the country’s ITS roadmap which involves the application of appropriate technologies and systems. “The recent discussions on the relevant technologies such as automated number plate recognition, payment gateway liberalisation and other technological issues are an important step towards ensuring that the awareness and utilisation of such technologies can be optimised. This will then ensure a better future for intelligent transport in Malaysia.”
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