Turkish Municipality Gives Green Light to RFID Vehicle Tracking
Operating a managed, busy parking lot can pose significant challenges, especially to a government organization that also owns some of the vehicles in the lot. The parking area has to be secure, with barrier-enforced entrances and exits. It also has to have an automated, efficient monitoring system that allows for accurate vehicle tracking as well as easy in-and-out access for drivers.
The Municipality of Pendik in Istanbul, Turkey, operates a highly trafficked parking area for its municipality-owned fleet of 1,000 vehicles. The lot has four gates, far away from each other. The cars move in and out of the lot four or five times each day. The municipality did not want to hire four parking lot attendants, yet funneling all the traffic through a single, congested gate was not an option.
Since some of the gates are dangerously close to a motorway, municipality officials did not want to distract its drivers by having them press buttons to open the barriers. They wanted a completely automated solution that would give the drivers better ease of use with an easy in and out.
To solve their problem, the municipality turned to STS Technology, an RFID solutions provider based in Turkey. STS has deployed Alien Technology products, including RFID EPC-complaint solutions, throughout the country. STS provides RFID solutions and services to customers in various industries, including retail, textile, manufacturing, transportation and logistics.
The System SpecsSTS recommended RFID solutions from Alien Technology and developed a complete RFID vehicle tracking solution for the municipality’s parking lot and fleet of vehicles. Each gate has exit and entrance doors equipped with Alien readers and circular antennas.
Each vehicle now has an Alien M tag, which is displayed inside the windshield. The M tag is a high performance tag that is ideal for plastic surfaces. The tags are encapsulated in a sticker that has the logo of the Pendik municipality.
“We are very happy with the Alien products,” says Levent Yalcinkaya, STS Technology technopark director. “The reader has many options, and we can change the behavior of the reader by simply changing some parameters. It fits almost all cases of the project.”
STS also built software based on Alien’s API, so the municipality administrators can record the vehicle movements.
“The system records about 4,000 transactions to the database each day,” explained Yalcinkaya. On some gates, one reader is deployed for the entrance and exit. On other gates, two separate readers are used, for a total of six readers to monitor the lot traffic. Each reader can detect the vehicle tags from approximately five to six meters, added Yalcinkaya.
The SolutionThis RFID solution for the municipality was able to overcome the challenges of monitoring the fleet. “The municipality before would have to open the barriers with the help of security people or by the driver’s action button. And the administrators were recording the vehicle movements manually,” said systems integrator Yalcinkaya. “With RFID, we collect the data automatically and without human action. The municipality gets reports from its IT system, and it can easily track the employee’s vehicles and parking lot status,” he explained. And the drivers are not busy opening the gates – they are simply driving their vehicles.
Yalcinkaya added that the key to the project’s success was the ongoing testing that STS did first in lab conditions and then on-site. “It’s very important to test hardware and software with the real conditions,” he said. STS also creates extensive documentation during each deployment. “We write down whatever we do on the project. That information becomes very valuable as we deploy the RFID and start work on future implementations.”
STS predicts that the Turkish market will continue to embrace RFID for tracking solutions, and it will change the way businesses operate. “Collecting data with RFID and without human intervention will change many business sectors,” said Yalcinkaya. “Classic methods of parking and vehicle tracking operations will be history in the near future.” Future Projects
Alien is the first RFID supplier to come to Turkey, and the Pendik Municipality project is the first RFID project announced in the country, according to STS. The Pendik Municipality officials are also pleased with the success of the RFID deployment.
“We believe the RFID reader/tag solution from Alien to be superior to other solutions we tested,” said Omer Elci, transportation manager for the Pendik Municipality. “We were impressed with the ability of STS to provide the RFID hardware and software integration solution to suit our needs,” Elci added.
As a second phase of the project, Pendik is working with STS to set up a system that will track the vehicles and their respective drivers at fuel stations owned by the municipality.
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