FASTag usage is on the rise indicating a greater acceptance for the new automated payment system for highway tolls. The jump in FASTag users is rather substantial, for example – official data shows that it went from 19.5 lakh a day on 16 December to 24.78 lakh on 24 December. The number has only shot up ever since. The Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology at the core of FASTag service is said to be ahead of global standards. We got in touch with Ravi Mathur, CEO, GS1 India, to learn more about the tech and its usage.
If you could first give us a short brief on GS1 standards in RFID.
GS1 is a global standards organization headquartered in Brussels. It develops standards that enable unique identification, capture and seamless exchange of product information from point-of-origin to point-of-sale or dispensation. The unique identification codes are encoded in a barcode or an RFID tag depending on the application. In the case of RFID technology, the tags are encoded with an Electronic Product Code.
Can FASTag be applied for other uses, for example, car parks at malls, in the future?
Yes. While FASTags have been initially deployed in unique identification of vehicles for e-tolling application on national highways, their extended use on State highways and within cities in parking lots, etc. was already visualized at their introduction itself. In fact, Hyderabad airport has started using FASTags for managing car parking at their premises. The benefit therefore of using FASTags following GS1/ EPC global standards is far beyond what is being realised currently.
What happens to the data collected by FASTags and its security?
The data is limited to vehicle identification only and is securely in the custody of NPCI. [FASTags are part of the National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) program developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).]
Is the RFID technology used in India at par with that used in other parts of the world?
Globally, especially in the developed economies, RFID Tags for e-tolling applications have been in use for a long time using proprietary coding standards for vehicle identification. Since India introduced e-tolling on its national highways only recently, it could standardise RFID tags using GS1/EPC Global standards which enable a vehicle to use a single RFID tag across toll plazas in the country even though they may be operated by different toll concessionaires. From this perspective, India is ahead of the rest of the world in this application.
Is GS1 working on any other projects with the government relating to the automotive industry
No work is being done with the government at this juncture related to the automotive industry, However GS1 India is extensively engaged with the government on deployment of RFID technology using GS1/EPC Global Standards in Railway Wagons Identification, defense sector, etc.
What other services can GS1 India cater to the automotive industry with?
Worldwide, car tires, batteries, and accessories are retailed through specialized retail outlets wherein GS1 product identification standards are extensively used. GS1 Standards are also being used for authentication of test reports issued for CNG cylinders used by the automotive industry.
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