Electronic Vehicle Identification.
I
I
I
Introduction
I
This is an extract from a 'European Union' website.  This is basically, what they have to say about the development of an 'Electronic Vehicle Identification' system.  It gives a good insight into their plans for the future.
I
The main target of Electronic Vehicle Identification is the eventual development of an electronic, unique identifier for motor vehicles, which would enable a wealth of applications, many of them of crucial importance for the public authorities to combat congestion, unsafe traffic behaviour and vehicle crime on the European roads.  It is clear that such an identifier as well as the communication means to remotely read it should be standardised and interoperable all over Europe.
I
This target of a European [and later hopefully global] 'Electronic Vehicle Identification' device is very ambitious and complex.  It is a fact that it will require a lot of effort and interaction between the different stakeholders involved.  Indeed there are not only the political and strategic decisions to be taken about which vehicles to be obligatorily equipped and which applications to be introduced, but also the technical solutions to be developed, the standards to be prepared as well as the societal issues to be tackled... such as privacy and security.
I
I
Workplan
I
Main Target.
The main target of this work plan consists of the eventual development of an electronic, unique identifier for motor vehicles, which would enable a wealth of applications, many of them of crucial importance for the public authorities to combat congestion, unsafe traffic behaviour and vehicle crime on the European roads.  It is clear that such an identifier as well as the communication means to remotely read it should be standardised and interoperable all over Europe.  This target of a European [and later hopefully global] EVI device is very ambitious and complex.
I
It is a fact that it will require a lot of effort and interaction between the different stakeholders involved.  Indeed there are not only the political and strategic decisions to be taken about which vehicles to be obligatorily equipped and which applications to be introduced, but also the technical solutions to be developed, the standards to be prepared as well as the societal issues to be tackled such as privacy and security.  In the next chapter an overview of the issues at stake and the required actions are presented more in detail while another chapter will indicate a possible way forward.
I
The development and the possible implementation of the EVI concept on a European scale will take several years and will be an incremental process.  It will probably start with some simple, basic applications but the expectation is that it will grow steadily especially when EVI based added value services will enter the scene.
I
Main activities required.
I
Identification of the key EVI applications.
In order to derive the main technical requirements for the EVI device to be installed in motor vehicles and to safeguard their unique identification from the roadside, a subset of the most crucial EVI applications for the public authorities have to be selected such as traffic monitoring, detection of stolen vehicles, enforcement, black boxes and road pricing.  It should also be analysed how EVI could be usefully integrated into some value added services offered by the private sector [such as data collection.]  The selection of public and private applications should be restricted because it is indeed impracticable to study all possible EVI applications, and this would delay unnecessarily the implementation of the key ones.
I
Functional requirements of the key EVI applications.
In order to allow the key EVI applications to function in a European context, a consensus amongst the relevant public authorities in the Member States is needed on a set of common functional requirements for each of these applications which will put some technical requirements upon the EVI device and the communication means.  Examples of such functional requirements are the maximum distance at which the device can be read by the reader equipment, the reliability of the data transmission required for enforcement purposes etc.  Also the extra functional requirements induced by the selected value added services need to be identified.  It should not be the purpose to develop the applications themselves in detail but only their requirements having a definite impact on the EVI system design.
I
Construction of the EVI systems architecture.
Based upon the functional specifications an EVI systems architecture should be built i.e. one should identify and specify the basic components required to enable the many applications presented in the former discussion paper.  Also the data needed and how data flows between the components should be investigated.  One of the key decisions to be made will be whether a different architecture is needed for new and old vehicles.  Indeed there is the expectation that in the near future all cars and trucks will be equipped with a computer platform which will enable communications with the roadside.  The rapid take-up of these platforms is driven by commercial value-added services and new business models which are emerging after the first negative experiences.  Adding EVI would not be a problem technically.
I
A read-only microchip sealed inside the vehicle so that it is nearly impossible to commit fraud and containing the Vehicle Identification Number [VIN] coded in a standardised way could be linked to this platform and make use of the installed communications equipment.  For old cars however such a computer platform will probably be too expensive and a cheaper solution such as a passive transponder might be more appropriate.  Another alternative for new vehicles could consist of a hybrid system where a transponder is used [as for the old vehicles] which can be interrogated straight away from the roadside but which is also linked to the on-board computer platform.  The electronics industry will have to play a leading role here to indicate what is realistic and what not.
I
In case use is made of a telematics platform with communication to the roadside, the following questions have to be investigated...
I
1. Who will finance the in-vehicle telematics platform in case EVI becomes mandatory?
I
2. Are the public authorities willing to invest in the required infrastructure, including communications equipment, before the automotive industry is asked to implement EVI.
I
3. Are the public authorities prepared to undertake the necessary training activities and changes in organisations, operational procedures etc, in order to use EVI applications?
I
Location of the EVI device.
Based upon the above mentioned functional and technical requirements induced by the applications it should become clearer where the EVI microchip or transponder should be installed inside the vehicle in order to ensure an optimal communication with the computer platform respectively the roadside reader.  Integrating the chip within the vehicle chassis at the time of manufacture would provide much greater security.  Special attention should be given to [semi-]trailers [do they need to be identified separately from the tractor?] and motorcycles [only transponder and no computer platform?]
I
Standardisation.
If we want not to end up here in the situation which arose in the field of electronic fee collection with several incompatible telepayment solutions in the different Member States, a lot of effort will be required to standardise the above mentioned individual components such as...
I
1. the VIN coding where a provisional standard already exists [ENV ISO 14816 – Road Traffic and Transport Telematics – Automatic Vehicle and Equipment Identification – Numbering and Data Structures and more particularly Coding Structure 5 which is the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) as defined in ISO 3779/3780 and which is a structured combination of characters assigned to a vehicle by its manufacturer for identification purposes.  The manufacturer is responsible for the uniqueness of the VIN.]
I
2. the read-only chip or transponder containing the VIN.
I
3. the different communications media.
I
4. the communications protocols between the transponder/computer platform and the reader equipment respectively the microchip and the computer platform.
I
Any work in these areas should build upon the work going on in the CEN, ETSI and ISO related working groups especially in the field of Dedicated Short Range Communications [CEN TC 278 WG 9.]
I
Concerning electronic communications, the new regulatory framework which enters into force in all Member States next year [2003] will also be applicable to EVI.  The relevant Directives are the Universal Service and User’s Rights Directive and the Data Protection Directive.
I
Privacy.
There are no privacy problems at all with the electronic vehicle identification number as such as it only identifies the vehicle.  Privacy issues arise as soon as this number is associated with specific databases containing items such as the vehicle owner name and address, road tax payment status, insurance status, roadworthiness etc.  Hence, for the non-anonymous category of EVI applications a careful investigation is required and a set of rules have to be derived in order to guarantee privacy protection.  It is clear that sensitive information as the items mentioned above should not be available through the vehicle-roadside link.
I
This information should remain in the hands of a trusted party, mostly some kind of governmental authority and will have to be safeguarded by the privacy laws of each Member State and of the EU.  For example personal data for any purpose should not be kept any longer than is necessary for that purpose.  The databases should be extremely well protected and the distribution and use of the data should be independently audited for the public.  This is really vital if one wants to curb the negative perception that "Big Brother is watching you".
I
Security.
Security and encryption will be key for a series of applications such as enforcement.  Read only transponders or chips should be tamper- and vandal- resistant.  It should also be excluded that EVI data of important persons’ cars get in the hands of people with criminal intentions or that the data is modified.  The conditions have also to be established for the use of EVI in value added services provision... who has the right to install EVI readers for which purposes?
I
Evaluation of EVI.
In order to convince the decision makers of the many advantages offered by EVI, an in-depth study is required into the added value of EVI as an enabling tool.  The benefits and costs of the most interesting EVI applications should be analysed and outline business cases should be drawn up.  It should also be examined what are the potential benefits of EVI for these functions compared to existing or emerging alternative technologies.
I
Implementation decision - Legislation.
Once the different key applications have been analysed and the corresponding technical solutions identified and standardised a key political decision will have to be taken on how to implement EVI in Europe.  At least three different scenarios could be considered...
I
1. mandatory equipment of all new vehicles with an EVI device from a certain date on.
I
2. mandatory equipment of all new vehicles and of all old vehicles [retrofitting.]
I
3. mandatory equipment of all new and old commercial [and public] vehicles.
I
Each of these scenarios requires legislative action(s) at European level e.g. a directive in the whole vehicle type approval framework [new vehicles] and a specific directive for retrofitting [old vehicles.]  It is clear that the second scenario offers the greatest number of applications.
I
Possible synergies should be sought with the other legal activities in the field of telepayment, tachograph and Galileo.
I
A solution will also have to be sought for the foreign cars from outside the EU... they could be required to be equipped with an EVI during their stay within the EU.
I
It has to be stressed that only the installation of EVI devices into the vehicles should be made mandatory so that a whole range of applications would become feasible anywhere in the EU.  Which applications, based on EVI, are launched depend on the purposes each Member State wants to use it for.  Some Member States may even decide not using any of the applications at all which are enabled by the existing EVI devices.
I
If EVI is proposed as a public sector requirement and possibly made a mandatory equipment in motor vehicles, it has to be justified only and solely by the public sector needs.  The development of the telematics value-added services should be left to the private industry [with proper precautions regarding safety, HMI etc.]
I
I
Proposed way forward.
I
From the required actions described above it becomes clear that EVI is a complex issue involving many factors from many countries and covering many disciplines.  Hence it is excluded that a classical working group structure or a series of regular meetings among national experts in the different fields will lead to a satisfactory proposal for the introduction of EVI in the EU.  In order to be successful... a centralised approach at European level is a must... via a unique, dedicated and well managed project which will bring together the major stakeholders.  They will have to look into all the different aspects, analyse in more depth the possible implementation scenarios and provide the decision makers at the EC and the Member States with the necessary elements to decide on the best way to implement EVI.
I
On 30 December 2002 the European Commission [Directorate General Energy and Transport] has given a grant to the company ERTICO [umbrella organisation with members from the different stakeholders in the field of implementation of transport telematics systems and services] to make a feasibility study to set up such a project.  The main participants are representatives from the relevant public authorities [Ministries of Transport and Police] as they have an important role to play in the first stages of development as described above.  The industry partners in ERTICO will be instrumental in the development of technical solutions matching the functional requirements of the key applications and enabling also other value added services.
I
The total budget for this study with a duration of 18 months, is about €800.000.  The study will result in the following deliverables...
I
1. Requirements and user needs.
I
2. High level architecture, technology options and deployment scenarios.
I
3. Feasibility assessment of EVI with respect to requirements, user needs and economic aspects.
I
4. Conclusions and recommendations for EVI work plan.
I
A consultation group with representatives from public authorities across Europe, user organisations, the High Level Group on Road Safety and other stakeholders will provide input and feedback on the intermediate results at key stages during the project.  In addition the project will liase with Working Group 12 of CEN TC 278, ensuring the connection with relevant standardisation activities.
I
I
I

Back to the Top. Articles Home. Site Plan.
Speedtraps UK. RoadPilot. Snooper. Road Angel GPS.