VITRONIC vision system to enable free-flowing traffic in Australia

MARCH 11, 2008--The VITRONIC (Wiesbaden, Germany) TollCheckerfreeflow system is at the center of the Free-Flow Tolling implementation project in Queensland, Australia.

MARCH 11, 2008--The VITRONIC (Wiesbaden, Germany; TollCheckerfreeflow system is at the center of the Free-Flow Tolling implementation project in Queensland, Australia, which was recently awarded to Thales, a supplier of security solutions and services. The single-gantry solution is to be introduced on Brisbane's Gateway Bridge and Logan Motorway and includes optical vehicle detection, classification, and automated license-plate recognition for the collection of tolls.

From mid-2009, existing toll plazas on several roads operated by Queensland Motorways Limited will be replaced by an automatic free-flow payment system. With an estimated 69 million vehicles traveling along these roads annually, motorists will benefit from improved travel conditions, reduced travel times, and safer roads. Payment will be made by either a transponder located on the vehicle's windscreen or through license-plate identification--at full motorway speeds. Tolls are subsequently deducted from preregistered accounts.

To provide the most accurate results, TollCheckerfreeflow consists of several integrated subsystems: multiple detection units identify and track all vehicles on multilane roads, irrespective of speed and position; synchronized front and rear automatic license-plate recognition cameras locate and capture the diverse range of Australian license plates; and customized software is used for optical character recognition. Additional cameras concurrently capture overview images of the vehicle while optical classification sensors determine the vehicle type and toll class through the application of diverse criteria, including size, number of axles, and the presence of trailers. Operation requires only a single gantry per location and no in-road equipment. Laser technology provides unobtrusive, industry success rates--even in heavy traffic.

VITRONIC has been developing machine-vision systems for almost 25 years. The company has already successfully implemented a similar system for TollCollect, the operator of the German national truck tolling scheme, reportedly the largest multilane free-flow project worldwide. Some 300 stationary gantries monitor 1000 lanes of traffic and allow unimpeded traffic flow on Autobahns throughout Germany.

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