Vehicle access and security systems

Access Control and Security Systems pic 1

Access control for vehicles is as old as RFID based access control in general. The predominant technology used for vehicle access in the last decade is without doubt microwave technology: 2, 45 GHz readers identify cars and other vehicles that are equipped with semi-active or active badges. Supporting reading distances of over 10 meters, this technology provides for a convenient and resilient way of vehicular access control. Automatic Vehicle Identification (AVI) using wireless communication is a secure and convenient solution for vehicle access control, precisely the RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) system is ideally suited for AVI applications, where long read-range, high reliability and open connectivity are required. The reader checks the identity and accepts/rejects the ID-tag based on ID-tag status which controls the barriers/gates. This is a cost effective solution for remote installations, where it is difficult or expensive with cable connections to a central host.

Access control management are Policies, procedures, and physical components controlling passage in and out of facilities or areas, determining who belongs and who does not, and tracking movement in and out of controlled areas. Manufacturers of prox cards and readers, especially those operating in the 120-125 kHz frequency, have found ways to extend the reading distance of the card technology they deploy. However, one must not only identify an approaching vehicle, but also the driver inside. Identifying only the vehicle rather than the driver could encourage theft of a vehicle to access your facilities, by giving automated access to what is perceived as an authorized vehicle. Christopher A. Millar, the CEO of Gatekeeper Security Inc. based in USA, warns potential buyers of sham products and advices them to test any system by doing a side by side test. He confidently points out that many manufactures either directly or indirectly through their agents, misrepresents what their systems can do and the first time the purchaser realizes it is after they have paid for the systems and had them installed.

With the high demands for the need of finding a simple way to track the driver credential and potentially the vehicle identification as a lock & key combination, has paved the way for new philosophy which dictates that a vehicle can never be left with an active AVI access credential present unless occupied by an authorized driver.

Recently the introduction of Ultra High Frequency (UHF) has totally changed the automatic vehicle identification arena. In this case the Ultra High Frequency (800-900 MHz) has been used in the world of logistics for many years to track and trace parcels and products that are finding their way through the production and distribution processes. The very interesting part about this technology is that it supports reading distances of several meters using relatively inexpensive passive badges (without batteries), given that it’s a slightly less robust technology when compared to microwave systems, the related investment is greatly reduced, making it a very attractive alternative.

When it comes to providing a resilient, secure and convenient solution for vehicular access, microwave platforms that combine vehicle with driver based identification have been rated suitable, although in many situations the extra effort that is made ends up out of reach, despite the UHF capabilities of providing flexible and attractive alternative of Access to company car parks, parking lots with pre-paid or licensed permits, establishing zones in parking garages, handsfree access inside buildings etc.

Automatic Number Plate Recognition has also been on the forefront of earning popularity over the past years for being designed with features of flexibility and easily maintained vehicular access control. ANPR camera’s can be connected to access control systems where the license plate number is easily registered.

Since the invention of the automatic sliding door, there has always been the need for something to open it.  Doors need to be programmed to control access, letting some people in while keeping others out. Inner office doors with magnetic locks or electric strikes can be linked up to access control solutions such as keypads, card readers, proximity access systems, push buttons, barcode scanners or other access systems. Hynek Pindak, of Flow Systems Manufacturers (Pty) Ltd, based in South Africa advices on buying the correct product for the correct application as there are many access control barriers out there and one needs to know which ones to use and where since the Biometrics are increasingly trending and becoming more and more popular in conjunction with the vehicle and access barrier systems.

A critical part of the access control function is entry-point screening; a method for enforcing selective admission at entrances and other access points. Entry-point screening typically involves secure/non-public areas within a transit system, and can entail verification of identity, a physical search of belongings or a vehicle, x-ray search of bags and packages, weapons detection of belongings and people, explosives detection, or chemical/biological agent screening. Although high ridership volume, limited space, and the limited throughput of current metal detection screening technologies would not allow mass screening of all passengers in transit stations without severely impacting service, transit agencies may use screening at key high-security facilities/areas, or may selectively screen for high-risk individuals, locations, and events. According to Christopher A. Miller, the CEO of Gatekeeper Security Inc. based in the USA says; “In the field of Vehicle Access control and security Systems, scanning and licensing of number plates integrate into large security platforms offering a central server, redundancy and integration with other access control technologies (XRAY systems), database access etc.” The company is dedicated to the development and worldwide deployment of security systems that allow the underside of vehicles of all descriptions to be automatically searched and drivers and passengers to be screened from a safe distance.

Access control technology is advancing rapidly; following the use of the biometric devices that were not used before. The technologies enable security personnel to monitor and protect vital assets, such as power facilities, control centers, and computers, more effectively. Electronic access control systems, such as key card systems, have the advantage over conventional key systems in that lost or revoked credentials can be immediately deactivated with minimal cost. In addition, automated entry-point screening systems can sometimes replace guards at some entrances.