Highway Tech Archive

  • PLUS uses Tapway AI, Nvidia GPUs for automated number plate recognition (ANPR) for RFID toll tracking

    In November, highway concessionaire PLUS Malaysia announced it had rolled out automated number plate recognition (ANPR) to track vehicles passing through North-South Highway toll plazas. The system is meant to ensure motorists are paying their toll fees as they should and is said to be the first step towards the goal of multi-lane free flow (MLFF), a form of open road tolling that dispenses with the usual booths.

    Now, technology giant Nvidia has detailed the computer vision and artificial intelligence (AI) tech found in PLUS’ ANPR system, which incorporates the company’s proprietary graphics processing units (GPUs) and software. VehicleTrack, developed by Malaysian startup Tapway, can read a number plate and detect a car’s class, make and colour in just 50 milliseconds – even when it’s travelling at up to 40 km/h.

    Founded by former aerospace engineer Lim Chee How, Tapway entered into the project by responding to a call for help in video analytics back in 2019. The client, PLUS, was looking to be able to effectively track a car’s entry and exit points, given that the North-South Highway runs a closed system for tolls.

    Specifically, the company wanted to prevent users from using one payment method to enter the highway and another to exit, presumably in preparation of its rollout of Touch ‘n Go’s radio frequency identification (RFID). This was meant to stop motorists from either trying to cheat the system or being double charged. “We showed them how with computer vision — just a camera and AI — you could solve all that,” said Lim.

    Tapway trained and ran its AI models using Nvidia A100 and V100 Tensor Core GPUs; the result is a system that works in all light and weather conditions with a consistent 97% accuracy, Nvidia said. Each GPU can manage up to 50 video streams at once thanks to an Nvidia Triton Interference Server, enabling the ANPR system to process up to 28,800 images a minute on edge servers using Nvidia A10, A30 and T4 GPUs.

    “Triton is a real lifesaver for us,” said Lim. “We had some scaling problems doing inference and multithreading on our own and couldn’t scale beyond 12 video streams in a server, but with Triton we easily handle 20 and we’ve tested it on up to 50 simultaneous streams,” he said.

    According to Lim, Tapway uses a dataset of up to 100,000 images to prepare a new AI model for a customer in just a few hours, rather than several days in the case of a CPU-based system. The company builds its apps using the Nvidia DeepStream software development kit (SDK) and optimises its AI models via TensorRT, an SDK for high-performance deep learning inference.

    As we’ve previously reported, PLUS uses the ANPR system not only on RFID lanes, but also Touch ‘n Go and SmartTAG ones. This enables it to track all users, even if they enter using a TnG card or SmartTAG and exit using RFID, charging their eWallet (via RFID) rather than their card. The company has installed 577 cameras so far and plans to grow this number to nearly 900 at 92 toll plazas, Nvidia said.

    Even with all this technology, PLUS’ ANPR system is not foolproof. To that end, the concessionaire has implemented a dedicated validation centre where backend staff are able to augment the system by identifying damaged, dirty or non-standard (i.e. with “fancy” fonts and spacing) plates.

    Since its founding in 2014, Tapway has implemented 3,000 sensors in 500 locations throughout Malaysia and Singapore. Its AI tech not only detects number plates but also help study consumer buying habits in malls; the company even wants to aid regional carmakers and palm oil producers in improving quality control inspections, Nvidia said.

     
     
  • EZ-Link x Touch ’n Go Motoring Card launched – SEA’s first dual-currency, cross-border contactless card

    Those that frequently travel between Singapore and Malaysia will probably be familiar with the idea of carrying both an EZ-Link and Touch ‘n Go (TnG) card to either pay for tolls or even public transport. Well, those two cards are now combined into one with the launch of the new EZ-Link x Touch ’n Go Motoring Card.

    Billed as Southeast Asia’s first dual-currency, cross-border contactless smart card, it offers travellers the convenience and flexibility of payment options in both countries. The card securely hosts two electronic wallets, including the EZ-Link wallet in Singapore dollars and the TnG wallet in Malaysian ringgit.

    The card can be used for electronic road pricing (ERP) payments, highway tolls, checkpoint toll charges, parking fees, as well as public transport fares in both countries. Both companies have previously announced the plan to create a combi card back in April 2019, and its launch coincides with the reopening of both countries’ borders under the reciprocal green lane (RGL) and periodic commuting arrangement (PCA) schemes.

    “It has certainly been a challenging period for everyone where cross-border travel has been restricted, but we look forward to the gradual and safe reopening of the border between Singapore and Malaysia,” said Nicholas Lee, CEO of EZ-Link.

    “Our EZ-Link x Touch ‘n Go Motoring Card will bring a new level of convenience for motorists who have to travel between the countries often, and offer added safety and flexibility in contactless payment options. The card is the first-of-its-kind in the region, and we are committed to continue working with our partners to pioneer new innovations that cater to the varied needs of Singaporeans,” he added.

    In terms of availability, the card has been released in limited stock on the official EZ-Link online store on Lazada Singapore at SGD7 (RM21) with no preloaded credit, as of August 17. Subsequently, the card will be made available for sale at selected 7-Eleven stores in Singapore at SGD10 (RM30), inclusive of SGD3 (RM9) load value in the EZ-Link wallet from September onwards.

    Users can top up either wallets housed within the card at regular channels in their respective countries.

    Unfortunately, the EZ-Link x Touch ‘n Go Motoring Card is only for for Singapore-registered vehicles travelling between Singapore and Malaysia. Foreign-registered vehicles will still need to use an Autopass to pay for all entry and exit fees while travelling across Singapore’s borders.

     
     
  • TnG PayDirect comes to Butterworth Outer Ring Road

    The Butterworth Outer Ring Road (BORR), also known as Lingkaran Luar Butterworth (LLR), is the latest highway to support tolled road to support Touch ‘n Go’s PayDirect feature. With it, there are now 18 highways/bridges that fully support the e-wallet-based toll payment method, plus one part of highways operated by PLUS.

    For now, only the Bangunan Sultan Iskandar (BSI) accepts PayDirect, but the Butterworth Kulim Expressway (BKE), Penang Bridge, Jitra (JTR), Kempas (KPS), Malaysia-Singapore Second Link (LINKEDUA) and Seremban Port Dickson Highway (SPDH) will join it later on.

    To set up PayDirect, you will first need a TnG eWallet account, and must link your Touch n’ Go cards to the eWallet app (up to three allowed). When a linked card is used at any of the listed highways (via SmartTAG or by reader), the toll charge will be automatically deducted from the eWallet balance instead of balance on the physical card itself.

    In the event there are insufficient funds in the eWallet, the fare will be deducted from the physical card’s balance instead. You can ensure that you have a sufficient balance in your eWallet by enabling the auto-reload feature in the eWallet. whereby funds are automatically added to the eWallet whenever the balance dips below a certain preset amount.

    The auto-reload action can be set via phone app, with payment made using a credit or debit card, online banking, as well as TNG Reload PINs with no additional fees.

    To promote the use of the TnG eWallet, Touch ‘n Go is currently holding a contest offering one whole year’s worth of free toll. The campaign period is from now till July 31, 2019, and you can find out more details here.

     
     
  • Touch ‘n Go PayDirect available at Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge and Bangunan Sultan Iskandar

    Touch ‘n Go has expanded its list of tolled roads that support the PayDirect feature, with the Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge being the latest addition. The company has also rolled out the e-wallet-based toll payment method to one area of the PLUS Highway.

    According to the TnG app, PayDirect can now be used for toll fares at the Bangunan Sultan Iskandar (BSI) toll plaza. Other sections of the highway like the Butterworth Kulim Expressway (BKE), Penang Bridge, Jitra (JTR), Kempas (KPS), Malaysia-Singapore Second Link (LINKEDUA) and Seremban Port Dickson Highway (SPDH) will also support PayDirect later on.

    With this update, PayDirect is now available at all Klang Valley, Penang and Johor open system tolls, with the exception of the PLUS Highway, Elite Highway, NKVE and LEKAS Highway.

    Click to enlarge

    To use PayDirect, you will first need a TnG eWallet account. Next, you must link your Touch n’ Go cards to the eWallet app (up to three allowed). Whenever a linked card is used at any of the listed highways (SmartTAG or by reader), the toll charge will be automatically deducted from the eWallet balance instead of balance on the physical card itself.

    In the event there are insufficient funds in the eWallet, the fare will be deducted from the physical card’s balance instead. You can ensure that you have a sufficient balance in your eWallet by enabling the auto-reload feature in the eWallet. whereby funds are automatically added to the eWallet whenever the balance dips below a certain preset amount.

    The auto-reload action can be set via phone app, with payment made using a credit or debit card, online banking, as well as TNG Reload PINs with no additional fees.

     
     
  • Touch ‘n Go PayDirect coming to closed-system tolls – PLUS Highway, Elite Highway, NKVE, LEKAS Highway

    Currently, there are 16 highways in Malaysia that support Touch ‘n Go’s PayDirect feature, which provides road users with the convenience of paying for toll charges with their eWallet via their existing TnG cards.

    Soon, the company is set to expand that list to include closed-system tolls such as the PLUS Highway, Elite Highway, NKVE and LEKAS Highway, bringing the total number up to 20 highways. However, there’s no timeline on when this will happen for now.

    To get PayDirect working, you will first need a TnG eWallet account. Next, you must link your Touch n’ Go cards to the eWallet app (up to three allowed). Whenever a linked card is used at any of the listed highways (SmartTAG or by reader), the toll charge will be automatically deducted from the eWallet balance instead of balance on the physical card itself.

    Click to enlarge

    In the event there are insufficient funds in the eWallet, the fare will be deducted from the physical card’s balance instead. You can ensure that you have a sufficient balance in your eWallet by enabling the auto-reload feature in the eWallet. whereby funds are automatically added to the eWallet whenever the balance dips below a certain preset amount.

    The auto-reload action can be set via phone app, with payment made using a credit or debit card, online banking, as well as TNG Reload PINs with no additional fees.

     
     
  • Touch ‘n Go RFID – what to do when you sell your car

    As of last month, Touch ‘n Go (TNG) revealed that more than 200,000 motorists had registered for its radio-frequency identification (RFID) electronic toll collection system, which is still running trials in its public pilot project phase.

    With installation now having been opened to walk-in customers, more motorists are signing up, and an expanding user base also means that the number of motorists switching cars will eventually rise, with some already starting as early as now.

    An example of this is Hafriz Shah, who was one of the first pilot testers in the country. He has sold off his Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and that means he can no longer utilise the RFID tag attached to it. That’s because the system’s sticker-based passive tag is permanently fixed to a vehicle, and is uniquely identified to it – it can’t come along with a user should he/she sell the car, unlike a SmartTag reader.

    Users need to be aware of this if they decide to sell off their vehicle. You’ll need to terminate the association with the particular RFID tag on your car, because if not, the toll fare will be deducted from your TNG eWallet account even though the toll usage is made by the new owner. Likewise, if the car is stolen, of course (duh!). There’s no compensation for deducted toll fare if a customer has failed to terminate his/her RFID tag.

    The only way to do this is by calling TnG Careline – there’s no online method or doing so through the eWallet app. The reason is security – verbal verification of the user’s identity needs to be established in order to complete the termination process.

    Here’s how it works. Call the Careline at 03-27148888, cycle through the automated response and press #4 for RFID related matters, where you’ll be transferred to a TNG personnel. The termination process involves disclosing a user’s full name, MyKad number, phone number, the registration plate number of the associated vehicle and the available eWallet balance.

    Hafriz says that the whole process takes under five minutes to accomplish. To verify that the tag termination has been completed, all you have to do is check your eWallet app to see if the car has been removed from your wallet. You can then register for a new RFID tag with your next car.

    A point to note. Those buying a used car with a RFID tag still attached to it won’t be able to use that exact tag, because TnG says the old tag will need to be removed and a new one installed when a fresh registration of the vehicle is entered into the system.

     
     
  • Touch ‘n Go PayDirect now active on BESRAYA, NPE

    Touch ‘n Go has further expanded its list of highways in Malaysia that are PayDirect-enabled, with latest additions being the Besraya Experessway (BESRAYA) and New Pantai Expressway (NPE).

    As a result, there are now 16 highways in Malaysia that support PayDirect, which provides road users the convenience of paying for toll charges with their eWallet via their existing Touch ‘n Go cards.

    To do so, users must first link their Touch n’ Go cards to their eWallet app (up to three allowed). When they use a linked card at any of the listed highways (SmartTAG or by reader), the toll charge will be automatically deducted from the eWallet balance instead of balance on the physical card itself.

    In the event there are insufficient funds in the eWallet, the fare will be deducted from the card’s balance instead. You can help maintain a healthy eWallet balance by enabling the auto-reload feature in the eWallet, which is performed through the phone app via credit or debit card, online banking or TNG Reload PINs with no additional fees.

     
     
  • Touch ‘n Go PayDirect now available on four more highways in Malaysia – LDP, KLK, KESAS, SPRINT

    Click to enlarge

    Touch ‘n Go has activated PayDirect on more highways in Malaysia, with the Damansara-Puchong Expressway (LDP), Kuala Lumpur-Karak Expressway (KLK), Shah Alam Expressway (KESAS) and Western KL Traffic Dispersal System (SPRINT) joining a list that now stands at 14 highways.

    With PayDirect, road users will be able to link up to three Touch n’ Go cards to their eWallet app. Once a linked card is used at any of the listed highways (SmartTAG or by reader), the toll charge will be automatically deducted from the eWallet balance instead of the balance on the physical card itself.

    However, should there be insufficient funds in the eWallet, only then will the fare be deducted from the card’s balance. This can be prevented by enabling the auto-reload feature in the eWallet, which is performed through the phone app via credit or debit card, online banking or TNG Reload PINs with no additional fees.

    Based on the Touch ‘n Go eWallet app, the Besraya Experessway (BESRAYA) and New Pantai Expressway (NPE) will be the next highways set to be PayDirect enabled. How is your experience with PayDirect so far?

     
     
  • Government planning expansion of AWAS cameras

    The government says it plans to increase the number of Automated Awareness Safety System (AWAS) cameras, specifically added at accident-prone locations in order to improve road safety and reduce the accident rate, Bernama reports.

    The proposal for the growth in camera numbers is at the review stage, and the government is also reassessing the locations of the cameras for better effectiveness by updating their list of accident-prone areas based on the latest data. Currently, 45 AWAS cameras are in operation nationwide. Of the 45 cameras, 29 are used for monitoring speed limit offences, while the remaining 16 are for traffic light regulation.

    “Additional cameras will be installed. The installation costs and camera operations will only be determined when they are installed,” deputy transport minister Datuk Kamarudin Jaffar said in response to a question regarding the cost of purchase, installation and maintenance of the AWAS cameras, and how much in fines have been collected so far.

    The government had collected RM5,726,400 from 163,986 summonses issued between September 1, 2018 and April 17 this year, the former date being the commencement of AWAS enforcement.

    To recap, AWAS will police for two offences – running the red light and speeding. A traffic light offence carries the penalty of four demerit points for private passenger vehicles and motorcycles, and six demerit points for buses and goods delivery vehicles.

    Meanwhile, exceeding the posted speed limit by between one km/h to 25 km/h carry two points and four points respectively, while speeding offences of 25 km/h to 40 km/h above the posted limit will carry a penalty of three points and five points respectively. Finally, offences more than 40 km/h above the posted limit carry four points and six points respectively.

     
     
  • Touch ‘n Go PayDirect now officially available on LDP

    Touch ‘n Go has announced that its PayDirect system is now available on the Damansara-Puchong Expressway (LDP). This brings the number of highways that are PayDirect-enabled to 11, with five more due to be added in the near future.

    Just to recap, PayDirect allows users to link up to three Touch n’ Go cards to their eWallet app. Once linked, the toll fare will automatically be deducted from the eWallet whenever a linked card is used at a toll booth (either by tapping it on a reader or by using a SmartTAG), without any deductions on the physical card itself.

    If the eWallet has insufficient funds, only then will the fare be deducted from the physical card’s balance. However you can preserve the balance on the card if you enable the auto-reload feature in the eWallet. Reloading the eWallet is done through the phone app via credit or debit card, online banking or TNG Reload PINs with no additional fees.

    With LDP now added to the list, the next highways to adopt PayDirect would be the Besraya Experessway (BESRAYA), Kuala Lumpur-Karak Expressway (KLK), New Pantai Expressway (NPE), Shah Alam Expressway (KESAS) and Western KL Traffic Dispersal System (SPRINT).

    Besides the LDP, PayDirect is currently available on Duta-Ulu Kelang Expressway (DUKE), Kemuning-Shah Alam Highway (LKSA), the Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel (SMART), Guthrie Corridor Expressway (GCE), Kajang Dispersal Link Experessway (SILK), Maju Expressway (MEX), Lebuhraya Grand Sepadu (GRANDSEPADU), Ampang-Kuala Lumpur Elevated Highway (AKLEH), Kuala Lumpur-Kuala Selangor Expressway (LATAR) and Cheras-Kajang Highway (GRANDSAGA).

     
     
 
 
 

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Last Updated 18 Aug 2022