The drivers slowly turned the corner and lined up one behind the other in the sticky North Carolina air as they awaited the signal to accelerate down the track. No, it wasn’t a NASCAR race, but rather a technology “Shoot-Out” sponsored by the Alliance for Toll Interoperability (ATI) held at an abandoned airfield in Sanford, North Carolina in May. In an effort to more effectively evaluate new toll technologies ATI invited companies to demonstrate the latest cutting edge concepts in a public setting to showcase development efforts. 3M responded by exhibiting its 2D barcode concept with two leading camera companies; PIPS (part of Federal Signal Technologies) and INEX/ZAMIR.
The objective of the demonstration was two-fold. First, 3M wanted to prove that 2D barcodes could be read at highway speeds. For each of the nine prototype plates tested, the drivers conducted three runs at 60 mph, two at 70 mph, and one low speed (30 mph) run with the three test vehicles spaced very closely together to simulate real world toll conditions. The preliminary results are encouraging the barcode was successfully read by the camera system every time an image of the plate was captured by the camera.
The second objective was to demonstrate 3M’s willingness to promote the barcode as an open standard. 3M collaborated with PIPS and INEX/ZAMIR, two best in class global ALPR companies, so their systems could find, decode, and read the 2D barcode. Both companies validated they could implement the standard on their existing systems. 3M is delighted by the results of both camera systems and will continue its outreach to other camera companies interested in the barcode concept by providing barcoded license plate samples and testing opportunities.
In conjunction with showcasing the barcoded plates, 3M has also collaborated with Toll Authorities, Law Enforcement Officials, and Departments of Motor Vehicles in numerous states discussing the barcode concept and the benefits it can provide to each stakeholder group. In many states, these meetings have marked the first time these key groups have sat together in a room to specifically discuss the issues surrounding plate readability both visually and with ALPR cameras.
Thus far, results of these efforts have been very encouraging. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the development made to date as well as the efforts made by our camera partners” stated Ryan Schultz, 3M Global Marketing Manager for Automatic Vehicle Identification. He continued “Now that we have proven the efficacy of the concept, we plan to collaborate with Toll, DMV, Law Enforcement and additional camera companies to further test and refine the product concept and production models to ensure we are meeting the requirements of each stakeholder group.”
3M will finalize the ATI demonstration by returning to Raleigh, NC to share the final data to the ATI board of Directors at the end of June. Full results of the test will be made public at the ATI general meeting in Atlanta, Georgia on July 25th.
If you are interested in hosting a stakeholder meeting or real-world barcode trial in your state, please fill out our contact us form.