On a warm morning in May 2010, a crew from Perrone Robotics and Transcore Corporation were on site south of Pittsburgh at Pennsylvania Turnpike plaza "M52" to advance the technological state of the art in transportation management. After a series of acceptance tests of their system, the Turnpike opened up the roads for passengers to drive through the state of the art Laser-based Vehicle Measurement system using SICK LMS sensors. Deployment was flawless. The team sat and watched the user interface and informational streams from the data room as the road was opened. Vehicles began passing through, measurements were taken, the system was operating as expected, and the crew broke for a celebratory barbecue.
This next generation system at M52 represents a major leap in technology development for open road tolling. Lasers positioned above the highway scan vehicles as they pass through the gantry system. Vehicles are detected and classified; dimensional measurements of height, width, and length are made; accurate speeds are calculated; real time triggering of cameras to photograph license plates occurs; and real time weighing of vehicles in motion is performed. All measurements are made under varying environmental noise conditions (rain, sleet, snow) and traffic patterns (stop-and-go to 100 mph highway speeds).
The future looks bright for open road tolling using above ground lasers.