Partnership creates innovative manhole cover device with ANPR

Delmanhorst and Stephankirchen, Germany

The new reader fits into a manhole cover and conveniently identifies licence plates using RFID technology Image courtesy of Tonnjes

If Tonnjes International Group and Kathrein Solutions GmbH have their way, reading stations installed on gantries will soon be a thing of the past. One of the market leaders for modern vehicle identification from Delmenhorst and the manufacturer of Auto ID solutions from Stephanskirchen in Bavaria have developed the ID Ereader Inroad in cooperation: A manhole cover with integrated RFID technology for electric vehicle identification.

The new solution is installed in the manhole instead of gantries and thus provides the technical basis for toll stations, transit controls or other applications - with potential savings for federal states, municipalities and authorities.

Manhole cover instead of gantry sign

According to the two companies this new product meets the demands of the constantly changing requirements for electronic vehicle identification. Where previously metre-high gantries were used to read license plates, the modern manhole cover will be used in future. "The ID Ereader Inroad is powerful and significantly reduces the installation and maintenance costs for permanently installed reading points," says Tonnjes Managing Director Jochen Betz, explaining the new product. "The authorities are not only reducing costs, they are also supporting the nationwide expansion of applications in the field of electronic vehicle identification."

Proven concept rethought

The companies are relying on a clever principle: an object that is already part of every road is turned into a technology solution. The ID Ereader Inroad can be installed in an existing or new manhole. The complete system consists of a robust internal unit that houses the adaptive antenna system and the electronics. A vibration damper specially designed to withstand the heavy loads of heavy goods traffic protects the system from damage. The entire unit is embedded in a standardised manhole shaft made of recycled plastic granulate. The intelligent antenna system allows the reading field to be swivelled in all four directions, which ensures both reliable identification and direction recognition of vehicles. The license plates are equipped with transponders for this purpose. "By integrating the reading infrastructure into the road surface, the installation costs are reduced many times over compared to traditional installation on gantries," explains Thomas Brunner from Kathrein.

Reading results with RFID tags 

To ensure safe and reliable evaluation, Tonnjes uses its own ID Eplate license plate and ID Estix Headlamp Tag headlamp sticker in combination with the ID Ereader Inroad, both of which are equipped with a Rain RFID chip. This contains a unique identification number that is recognised by the ground antenna in the cover and then compared with a database. The necessary data can then be viewed by the relevant authorities almost in real time. The entire system is forgery-proof and tamper-proof.

Jochen Betz sees this as an opportunity for city and country roads in particular: "ID Ereader Inroad in conjunction with ID Eplate and ID Estix Headlamp Tag is an economical solution to ensure comprehensive electronic vehicle identification for lorries, cars and motorbikes."


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