Toll service provider Axxès and technology company Continental announced that they will cooperate regarding tolling services for commercial vehicle fleets that no longer rely on so-called on-board units (OBUs) for electronic truck toll collection. To make this happen, Axxès and Continental will use data that is available in the next Continental version of the smart tachograph, the VDO DTCO 4.1, and transfer it to the Axxès cloud via the Continental Road Usage Service (CRUS) platform. To ensure cloud connectivity of its customers’ fleets Axxès uses Continental’s VDO Link, a smart connectivity device that is plugged in the tachograph front interface. While this setup is easy and practical for fleets, it also offers great advantages to Axxès’ EETS (European Electronic Toll Service) Services and VAS portfolio. The roles of the cooperation are clearly defined: Continental takes care of the necessary technology, and Axxès focusses on providing even better end-customer service for transportation companies.
The agreement with Continental puts Axxès, based in Lyon, France, and a well-known first mover in the European tolling industry, once more in the position of a pioneer in improving everyday work procedures of commercial vehicle fleet operators. But the company does not stop at tolling. The easy connectivity through the VDO Link and the multitude of driver and vehicle data available in a tachograph open a whole new field of value-added services that Axxès says it will explore for its customers going forward. While the tolling provider is confident that customers will immediately understand the benefits of the tachograph toll, they insist on offering freedom of choice. Therefore, customers can still get an OBU today, even soon in an updated version.
Frédéric Lepeintre, CEO of Axxès: “The introduction of the tachograph toll is a milestone for the European tolling sector, comparable only to the introduction of the all-digital truck toll in Germany in 2005. We are very proud to be the tachograph toll first-mover. This new solution is very easily accessible, and at the same time it is a lot more accurate, unambiguous and secure. It also opens new business fields for our customers and partners, because the tachograph toll is natively connected through our existing APIs to our new customer portal, which provides the full range of fleet management services.” Addressing Continental, he said: “We are glad to partner up with Continental, a company renowned all over the world as an automotive technology provider and at the same time a long-standing expert for tachographs and telematics.”
For both Continental and Axxès, the benefits of using tachograph data for collecting toll data are very clear. Most importantly, a tachograph comes with a DSRC modem (DSRC = Dedicated Short-Range Communication), originally needed for tachograph inspection, but reusable for tolling. It also brings a satellite navigation receiver and a front interface. Also, tachographs have a cryptographic trust anchor, which allows tachograph and vehicle to be uniquely identified and authenticated.
The European Commission’s Mobility Package makes it necessary to retrofit trucks used by fleet owners for international transport with new second-version smart tachographs. The deadline for this is the year 2025. This retrofit is highly relevant to toll service providers as they explicitly address the businesses doing international trade. By adding the tachograph toll to the picture, the investment in retrofitting may open additional benefits for commercial vehicle fleet operators.
Ismail Dagli, head of the business area Smart Mobility at Continental, emphasizes the great plans the technology company has for supporting toll service providers: “For Continental, the tachograph toll is not the finish line but rather a first step in the transition from OBU to OBE.” The distributed on-board equipment (OBE) will bank on tachograph data as central pillar but can also include vehicle data from other sources. It is a vision Continental developed to create a solution that offers a consistent user interface, is future-safe and expandable, increases data quality, simplifies logistics, reduces cost, increases security and privacy, makes it possible to design new value-added services and improves overall fleet economy. Ismail Dagli: “I’m proud that my colleagues have worked persistently on our goal to introduce the tachograph toll. We were always convinced that it offers a lot of opportunities for toll service providers and the whole road transport industry. Thousands of commercial vehicle fleets will benefit from this. We are very satisfied to bring this to the market together with European electronic toll experts Axxès.”