It seems that there’s more to the Road Transport Department’s (JPJ) plan of introducing Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tracking on all vehicles. The programme, set to be deployed by 2018, will see the tech embedded into road tax stickers – JPJ says this will allow real-time monitoring of traffic conditions and help police track down criminals.

It looks like the system will also integrate the workings of the gateless gantry system for electronic toll payment, which is also set to begin in 2018. At yesterday’s briefing to announce the possible introduction of congestion charges for private vehicles entering KL city centre, a DBKL official told The Sun that the RFID-in-road-tax system will hold the key towards electronic road pricing (ERP) in the capital city.

“It will be just like the Singapore’s ERP, road pricing scheme in Seoul and congestion charges for specific zones in London during peak hours. With RFID, it will also help the authorities to enforce penalties and provide exemption to public transport vehicles and cars driven by disabled people,” the official told the publication during the briefing.

The tracker is set to feature a ‘smart code’ tag embedded into the road tax sticker. The code can be tracked by the relevant authorities and satellites. It will be designed to shatter at any tampering attempt, and can transmit an alert to the JPJ and police should one try to remove it. Questions remain as to privacy concerns surrounding the system.

Field trials on RFID tech seem to be ramping up too. In May, PLUS was spotted running what looked to be a RFID evaluation session at the Batu Tiga toll plaza – two PLUS-liveried Proton Sagas (with card-like devices taped to the windscreens) were sighted repeatedly driving through a closed SmartTAG gate without slowing down, while a group of people were taking notes, possibly to see how fast the system could read individual devices in succession.

Earlier this month, reader Shafiq Aziz sent in some photos of a Multi-Lane Free-Flow RFID gateless gantry that has been erected near the Technology Park Malaysia roundabout in Bukit Jalil. Visible on the gantry are stickers denoting relevant authorities as well as tech partners – listed on the panel are Ministry of Works, Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation as well as the Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM).

Also to be seen, the names of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), Touch’n Go and Quatriz – back in October 2013, MHI announced that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Touch’n Go and Quatriz System to develop intelligent transportation systems (ITS) in the country.