More than 100 million of China’s drivers use electronic toll collection

By Jill Shen
1 min read
<em>smart connected vehicles with radar signal system and wireless communication technologies. (Image credit: Bigstock/Akarat Phasura) </em>
Smart connected vehicles with radar signal system and wireless communication technologies. (Image credit: Bigstock/Akarat Phasura)

More than 100 million drivers in China are now equipped with electronic toll collection (ETC) devices to pay automatically when driving on the country’s highways. The system will act as a platform for smart road technology in the future as well as autonomous vehicles.

Why it matters: The role of ETC is beginning to shift from a payment method to a way to connect vehicles amid a broader government push toward a national intelligent transport system for connected cars.

  • Uses of in-vehicle ETC devices include the collection of data on route choices and emergency brake usage. These can help to predict traffic patterns and possible accidents.
  • They are a crucial part of connecting vehicles and road infrastructure in a smart traffic management system, said Luo Ruifa, chairman of the country’s leading ETC device maker Genvict last month.

Details: The number of drivers in China using ETC devices is expected to grow a further 40% to 180 million by the end of this year, China’s Ministry of Transport said on Tuesday.

  • Around 2,500 highways nationwide that have been under construction will adopt ETC machines, and nearly one-fifth are now complete, the ministry said.
  • Beijing has taken a series of measures to meet the ambitious target of equipping 90% cars with ETC machines this year, including free installations and 5% discounts on tolls.
  • Last year, only 30% of the country’s 240 million vehicles adopted ETC, compared with over 80% in western countries.

Context: China is working on deploying 5G-enabled C-V2X networks to link vehicles, road infrastructure, and passengers as the technology of choice for the commercialization of smart connected cars.

  • Patrick Little, a senior vice president at Qualcomm, called for common standards and a long-term road map for vehicle connection in western countries in a recent interview.
  • The world’s first C-V2X-connected cars are expected to hit the road in China this year, according to the 5G Automotive Association.