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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Portugal keeps ahead on ETC

Portugal has just legislated (in Portuguese) mandatory RFID car licenses. The drive is traffic optimization, and the actual proven technology (ViaVerde) was maintained: 5.8GHz Microwave active RFID tags.

Here’s what Portuguese government chose: EN15509’s EFC compliant DSRC (Dedicated Short Range Communications) using MDR (Medium Data Rate) and LDR (Low Data Rate).

For some strange reason the use is still limited to ETC (Electronic Toe Collecting). So we still can’t use this tags to assert speed limits. Oh well, yet another missed opportunity.

And finally some FAQs:

  • what data will be stored on the chip? only car license id data (and payment means related data?), no driver owner data
  • how far can it be read? I’m guessing something between 20 to 50m – never worked with Microwave RFID, so this is nothing but a hunch. In theory and with other beacons it could reach 1000 m.
  • do we need a battery? oh yeah, and change it we will every 3 years or so, master Yoda
  • and what about security? well, after a fast google I’ve landed on this EN ISO 14906:2004 document stating “the specification of the security policy (including specific security algorithms and key management) remains at the discretion and under the control of the EFC (Electronic Fee Collection) operator, and hence is outside the scope of this document”. Oops, let’s hope some great algorithms with long keys are chosen… or else, and now that you’re mentioning: how much does a MicroWave reader cost? :)

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