Cepton lidar deployed for toll road traffic classification

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A state-of-the art electronic tolling system that utilizes high performance lidar sensors from Cepton and a vehicle identification solution from Red Fox ID is expected to be deployed on a major highway turnpike crossing multiple US states, promising fast, highly accurate, barrier-free, real-time tolling to enable smooth traffic flows.

Building on an extended collaboration between the two companies, Red Fox has developed a multi-lane free-flow tolling system called Quantum, which is able to accurately detect, track and classify vehicles of any size or type at highway speeds. Quantum uses Cepton’s Micro Motion Technology-based (MMT) Sora-P60 or Sora-P90 lidar sensors for high-resolution vehicle profiling, to enable integrators and road operators to achieve accurate customer billing in real time, with free-flow, barrier-free tolling.

For tolls to be charged correctly based on vehicle class, traditional tolling systems often use toll booths for manual processing or depend on vehicle speed reduction infrastructure to allow for time to capture vehicle information. That can cause congestion, increased emissions and frustration among customers. More advanced systems that aim to enable faster tolling, however, are often subject to significant errors such as missed vehicles or wrong vehicle classification, due to known limitations of the sensors currently being used, such as cameras and weight-based ground sensors.

Vehicle classification errors can have significant operating cost consequences for tolling operators while leakage leads to lower revenues. With tollways processing tens of millions of vehicles a year, the cumulative impact of inaccuracies and errors creates significant administrative costs, losses and customer dissatisfaction.

Red Fox says its Quantum solution addresses such challenges by adding an extra layer of accuracy to the tolling system by integrating Cepton’s lidar technology. A gantry-mounted system using Quantum is therefore able to accurately detect and track vehicles, even as they switch lanes. The lidar-enabled Quantum solution captures and extracts high-quality information, such as vehicle velocity, size and class, all of which is used as input to a separate billing system to compute and apply the appropriate tolling charge.

Quantum can also direct camera-based systems on the gantry to capture a vehicle’s front and rear plates in the event that a transponder cannot be detected. Through these innovations, Quantum is said to have demonstrated a vehicle detection accuracy in all traffic conditions of 99.96%, an axle classification accuracy in all traffic conditions of 99.9% and a vehicle length accuracy of +/-5%. The recently released Sora-P90 lidar features a 380Hz frame rate to deliver 1140 line scans per second, providing high-fidelity profiling of vehicles passing at highway speeds.

Dr Jun Pei, CEO of Cepton, noted, “It is very clear that lidar’s uses extend far beyond just serving as the ‘eyes’ of autonomous vehicles. Our lidar technology has a huge part to play in making our transport infrastructure smarter, safer, greener and more efficient, as we can see here following Quantum’s highly successful real-world testing.”

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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