In 2014, the National Highway Authority of India came up with the idea of FASTag, an electronic toll collection system on highways. Since then, the technology has been implemented across 500+ highways in India. In fact, in December 2019 , FASTag was made mandatory throughout India. In today’s guest post, Dharmveersinh Jadeja will introduce us to HashTag, a blockchain based alternative to FASTag he is working on.

How does FASTag work?

FASTag uses RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags to directly make toll payments from the savings/prepaid account linked to the tag. The vehicle need not stop to make transactions at the toll plaza, saving a lot of travelling time. Customers receive text messages after the transaction has been made through their tag accounts.

Practically, the FAStag is just a RFID Tag which contains all your data. The transmitter and receiver are at toll plaza. So, when your car enters the toll plaza, the transmitter at toll plaza transmits the radio waves and receives the data which is in your tag and makes the transaction accordingly.

The Problem with FASTag

The major issue with FASTag is that the transaction is sometimes performed twice, charging the customers double the amount of money. According to a report by India Times, over 1.2 million complaints have been filed for the same.

Toll Plaza

Cause of the Issue

The RFID tag may detect the car twice, charging the customer twice the amount. Technically, you have no control over the transaction of your toll as it is controlled by the system which is at the toll plaza. That is the cause of this problem and it means you lose control over your account wallet.

HashTag: A blockchain based alternative

Hashtag, the FASTag alternative is an electronic toll collection system over Blockchain. It is similar to FASTag but you have control over the transaction at toll plaza.

FasTag vs HashTag

How does it work?

The tag which was at the user-side in FASTag, is now with the toll plaza. The tag will contain the public address of the toll plaza account, and the mechanism of transacting with user/car. The car owner will be having a smart control system screen on his dash board. We can install the embedded system in our car which has an ability to make the transaction with your consent.

So, whenever a car enters the toll plaza, the system in the car detects the tag and gets the public address from the tag. It will display the confirm alert on the screen. As soon as the user clicks on confirm, the transaction is emitted over the Blockchain.

After the transaction is emitted, the system at the toll plaza will have the details regarding the particular transaction. The camera at the toll plaza will detect the number plate and will check for an entry in recent transactions.
If the number plate matches with recent transaction data, then the bearer will open.

That is how HashTag would work, in a nutshell.