Industrial Image processing and Industrial Connectors for Truck Toll System VITRONIC and HARTING share Common Goals

Gantry-mounted toll systems will soon become a familiar sight for users of Germany‘s autobahn network. These systems designed to collect the tolls payable by heavy goods vehicles are equipped with recognition devices developed by VITRONIC, a specialist in industrial image processing. To provide the necessary connector and connection systems, VITRONIC is being partnered by the HARTING Technology Group.

Gantry-mounted toll systems will soon become a familiar sight for users of Germany‘s autobahn network. These systems designed to collect the tolls payable by heavy goods vehicles are equipped with recognition devices developed by VITRONIC, a specialist in industrial image processing. To provide the necessary connector and connection systems, VITRONIC is being partnered by the HARTING Technology Group.

VITRONIC‘s TollChecker, an automatic monitoring device designed to collect the route-specific toll charges, identifies and classifies trucks over 12 tonnes as they pass by in the flow of traffic (see Figure 1). Based on the number of axles and the vehicle geometry, the device checks whether the vehicle is liable for a toll charge. The system is able to identify vehicles for which incorrect or no tolls have been paid and sends a data record as evidence - encrypted for security purposes - to the control center. If necessary, the data can also be sent to a portable terminal, allowing a patrol to pull over the offending truck.

The gantry-mounted system provides fully automatic monitoring across the entire width of the autobahn, irrespective of vehicle speed or lane-changing maneuvers.

The traffic flow is not impeded in any way, for example by mandatory speed restrictions or tool booth queues.

Technical Implementation

The VITRONIC TollChecker performs a three-dimensional survey of the vehicle, using the data thus acquired to create a geometric model. It ascertains the number of axles and also recognizes trailers. The system then goes on to determine the class to which the truck belongs and the relevant charge scale. A general image of the truck and an image of the registration plate are acquired with the help of infrared flash lighting which is invisible to drivers, and the vehicle registration number is automatically read. Lastly, the information acquired by the monitoring system is then compared via appropriate communication interfaces either with the data carried by a device on board the truck or with records held at the control center. If there is any suspicion of toll dodging, a data record is generated as evidence.

The demands made on connector systems

Technical Implementation

The environments to which both industrial image processing systems and industrial connectors are exposed necessitate optimum protection to safeguard ongoing functionality. Both VITRONIC and HARTING have years of experience of industrial environments, and so the solutions developed for the toll system are well able to meet the demands made on them. Thanks to the use of ­HARTING connectors and cabling systems by specialist company Ernst & Engbring (see Figure 2), the resulting connections are both simple and reliable. The high degree of protection means that weather conditions such as cold, rain, hail or snow cannot affect functionality. This is an important consideration, given that the toll gantries are networked and are required to communicate with both passing vehicles and the control center.

The cooperation between VITRONIC, Ernst & Engbring and HARTING with each company bringing their core competences to bear on implementing the toll system shows how know-how and technology need not be restricted to traditional industrial markets. There are often new applications to be found in entirely new fields.

Dr.-Ing. Bernhard Minge
VITRONIC Dr.-Ing. Stein Bildverarbeitungssysteme GmbH

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