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Satellite-Assisted European Road Tolls Next?

simoniker posted more than 11 years ago | from the eye-in-the-sky dept.

Technology 288

Roland Piquepaille writes "In 'Pay-as-you-go motoring just around the corner,' the European Space Agency (ESA) says that "road tolls could be made fairer if satellite-assisted distance pricing is implemented." Experiments are currently underway in Ireland, Portugal and Germany, before a possible extension to other countries. Potential benefits of such a road tolling system would be fairer implementation of charging on a 'pay for use' basis. All these experiments are using the US-operated Global Positioning System (GPS). But in 2010, when the system is fully implemented, it will use the Galileo satellite system."

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Windows Server 2003 approaching 100,000 active sit (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6926844)

Re:Windows Server 2003 approaching 100,000 active (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6926868)

because its old news?? (not that thats stopped /. before mind you...)

from the page linked - Posted by mandy at July 15, 2003 09:29 AM

Re:Windows Server 2003 approaching 100,000 active (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6926869)

You would have better luck if your write-up included something about Microsoft's under-the-table bribes to netcraft and demonized either the RIAA or SCO. (RIAA seems to be more hated this week, so I suggest you stick with them.)

Maybe it's because (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6927061)

...no one cares?

How easy to disable? (4, Insightful)

kramer2718 (598033) | more than 11 years ago | (#6926859)

Could the black box track the satellites inside a Faraday cage?

woah, this story is a troll's wet dream (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6926878)

p.. p.. p.. peeeeenis bird troll request you pay now!
or i'll shit on yer head!

Re:How easy to disable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6926882)

Sounds like another way to track the populace.

Re:How easy to disable? (4, Interesting)

TWX (665546) | more than 11 years ago | (#6926902)

If that's the case, a simple solution would be to fine anyone who does this heavily. It won't actually stop the abuse though, it'll just destroy the lives of the few who get caught.

A much smarter method, in my opinion, would be to check vehicle mileage of registered vehicles, and tax based on that. Most new cars use a digital odometer that isn't able to be rolled back by a mechanic with a screwdriver, so it would be much more secure to tax on that, and I haven't met too many people willing to tamper with their car's computer. Of course, simply removing the speedometer gear from the transmission and plugging the empty socket would take care of that on a mechanical level, but then the factory speedometer doesn't work either, so that isn't necessarily the greatest solution.

Any tracking technology that requires devices to be on the user's side can be disabled or circumvented. it's just a matter of making it hard enough and punitive enough to not comply, and easy enough to comply, that people generally comply.

Re:How easy to disable? (1)

Dutchmaan (442553) | more than 11 years ago | (#6926971)

There should always be alternatives. I think it's a fair assumption that not everyone wants to be tracked. A higher toll charge should be implemented for those people who do not wish to participate in the toll tracking system.. That way you may pay a little more but you don't have to fear big brother.. or if you are more trusting of the state and or technology it would be cheaper to go that route.

However as pricing goes I would not be surprised if the "offline" toll would be so stupidly expensive that it would practically force people into the tracking system out of "practicality" rather than convenience.

Re:How easy to disable? (5, Insightful)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927028)

Righto... things like this drive me nuts. There presently already is a cheep and efficent means of taxing cars based on distance they drive. By taxing the fuel it self you have an accurate means of charging for a vehicel's use on the road. Heavier vehicels such as SUVs pay more then a honda driver due to the fact that these vehicels use more fuel per mile.

Users who wish to by-pass being taxed on the fuel they use can already make the switch to propane, methane, alcohol, hydrogen, and a number of alternatives which i'd argue they deserve a reward if their fuel solution has a postive impact on air quality.

Users who don't drive as much don't pay as much tax. Users who drive a hell of alot pay a hell of alot.

Low tech, simple, difficult to circumvent, and already implemented. Who could ask for anything more?

I imagine that we will always consider toll roads in order to actually pay for specific roads that we can't convience the general public that we all actually benifit from. That's all well and good, but generaly speaking if you want to employ a general use fee for the roads you use, take the freaking fuel and don't bother launching high tech tracking devices. Barcodes and or radio tags would be perfectly dandy to maintain flow and charge a specific use tax for toll roads. If you really want to maintain your privacy, keep a cash only lane open.

Re:How easy to disable? (2, Insightful)

FirstEdition (79762) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927208)

yeah, but what they really want to do is charge more for certain roads or road types - eg super-mega-freeways will be expensive (but fast and convenient), whereas smaller roads will be slow but cheap.

You can't do this by taxing fuel.

Re:How easy to disable? (1)

bluGill (862) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927226)

I drove one car for over a year without a working speedometer/odometer, and I never missed it. I never got a ticket either. (I still get the finger from other drivers as they pass, and now I know I'm doing the speed limit or slightly more, so it is hard to say for sure I was going less than the limit) Not uncommon either, at the time I knew 3 other people in a simielar situation - the joys of college transportation.

mechanical failure is not uncommon, and you would be surprized how many gadgets you can live without. The only thing I won't compromise is good brakes. I used to panic stop for yellow lights just to prove something worked on that car.

Re:How easy to disable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6927235)

"If that's the case, a simple solution would be to fine anyone who does this heavily."

Yes. But is it the "right" solution?

Why create such a system which is so half-assed that you create a new opportunity for someone to be made a criminal? I say made, because while there will certainly be those who want to cheat the toll system, there will also be those who want to protect their privacy and see this as a serious intrusion.

I, for one, am sick of this constant circle of regulation and law. It's just layering rules upon broken rules. Law is suppose to make society better, make lives easier, give fair opportunity, not give funding to government or to create an egalitarian society.

Something gets passed, there's a way around it, so instead of fixing the problem or even reasoning whether such a system really would be fairer or implemented in the first place, we come up with a new rule of law that IS the fix, making our new paradigm, here toll collecting, workable.

What a damn awful hack and mentality.

"Most new cars use a digital odometer that isn't able to be rolled back by a mechanic with a screwdriver..."

Key word here--factory. You can change near everything in the aftermarket world, and that includes the odometer and speedometer. Now, we have to extend those laws as well?

In space, no one can hear you stream. (1)

corebreech (469871) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927255)

That's a pretty big risk, for a science officer, it's, uh, not exactly out of the manual, is it?

I do take my responsibilities as seriously as you, you know. You do your job, and let me do mine, yes?

(did I mention that Ash is a Goddamn robot?)

---

Yes, I'm sending the DVD back to you soon.

CRAP! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6926861)

Whenever governments try to make things "more fair" they're really just making an excuse charge people more money. Yes, I'm Canadian. ;)

cell phones (2, Informative)

Fuzzums (250400) | more than 11 years ago | (#6926863)

(little bit OT, but in a way related)

cellphones are used to track traffic jams. if phones follow a certain path they're likely to be in a car and is the phone stays in a certain zone for longer than t and more phones have the same behaviour it's likely there is a traffic jam.

this system has shown to be quite accurate.

Re:cell phones (1)

donutello (88309) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927042)

That sounds like an interesting concept. Do you have a link for that?

Must ... type ... something ... here ... to ... defeat ... lameness ... filter.

One thing that scares me (5, Insightful)

StewedSquirrel (574170) | more than 11 years ago | (#6926864)

One thing that scares me about these systems is the potential for spying on people.

As soon as it is mandatory for cars to have transmitting GPS recievers to track their movements on highways, then it will become standard issue in cities and other areas. Call me paranoid, but I don't WANT the government tracking me like that.

Second, along the same lines, there's the potential that the system could be used to issue things like speeding tickets and other traffic citations. I guess this is another case of the fact that people appreciate the right to BEND the law. There are some toll-systems in place now that give speeding citations if you cover the distance between two toll-booths in too short a time, but as far as I'm aware their deployment is limited.

Any comments?

Stewey

Re:One thing that scares me (1, Insightful)

Xzzy (111297) | more than 11 years ago | (#6926956)

> I guess this is another case of the fact that
> people appreciate the right to BEND the law.

It's not enforcing the law that's the concern, the interest in these systems is to improve revenues, using the laws to justify extortion.

Issuing speeding tickets is very, very rarely done in the name of safety, which is why they exist to begin with. If you want an example of this, get a speeding ticket sometime and challenge it in court. It's staggeringly simple to get the fine dropped. But of course you have to pay the court fees. ;)

To digress, using these systems to fine people is more of inevitability than a theoretical question. If it can funnel cash into the hands of the municipality, it WILL be used.

Re:One thing that scares me (1)

silentbozo (542534) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927046)

If it can funnel cash into the hands of the municipality, it WILL be used.

The nasty thing about technology is that it makes taxing minority groups easier. No, not racial minorities (although it could do that.) I'm talking about the select population that uses X (substitue tobacco, alcohol, computer books, high speed processors, etc.) that when pissed off by a law or politician, is not big enough to threaten that politician's power. Find enough small groups to tax, and you can appear to be benevolent to the majority of taxpayers, and thus remain in power.

Why don't they do that now? In many cases the cost of implementing and enforcing taxes on small groups outweighs the potential revenues. However, it doesn't stop the politicians from dreaming up new ways of treating taxpayers like their own piggy bank (witness Florida and the proposed "asset tax" on network infrastructure...)

It's scary, but the libertarians aren't completely off the mark when it comes to the unchecked excesses of government...

Re:One thing that scares me (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6926959)

There are some toll-systems in place now that give speeding citations if you cover the distance between two toll-booths in too short a time

Who would have thought that the Mean-Value Theorem [wolfram.com] would someday be used to give fines. They don't know WHERE you were speeding, but the theorem is clear, there exists such a point "c". Damn.

Re:One thing that scares me (5, Interesting)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 11 years ago | (#6926976)

I agree. I live in Illinois, and we have our IPass system for the tollways. The Tollway Authority logs when and where you pass each booth using this system, and mantains those logs indefinitely. An Authority official was interviewed on the news one evening saying that they would release that information to any authorized government agency (which apparently means anyone that wants to know.) There have already been several subpoenas issued for that information, and it is nowhere near as precise as a GPS-based tracking system would be. Still, people are correctly up in arms about it. Regardless of the desire to bend the law (and you're right about that) the historical truth is very simple: increased governmental monitoring (even with good intentions) invariably leads to reduced civil liberties. They can keep their spyware and I'll keep dropping coins, thank you very much.

Re:One thing that scares me (1)

fsmunoz (267297) | more than 11 years ago | (#6926979)

Insteresting... here in Portugal the highways have at the toll-boot several lanes reserved for "Green Way" subscribers. Basically it's a small device that you put inside your windshield that contains an unique identifier that allows you to enter an exit every highway in the country (not that there are many of them, eh) without stopping to pay. You simply drive trough, it shows the ammount in a digital display and it get's credited in your bank account (I suppose this system is common in every country, so apologies for the extended explanation).

Thing is, a rumour started circulating that the company that administers the system was supplying the average speed of the automobiles to the Police (since they know the time you entered a specific location and the time you exited and the distance between the two). The company had to issue a press release denying it because many people were frightened and ready to bail out (people here have e thing for dangerous driving - which explains why more people were killed by car accidentes in 10 years than soldiers in the same period of the Colonial War 30 years ago).

I have a "Green Way" device, and I must admit it's extremely useful. You can even put gas with it (the pump recognises the device and credits the appropriate account). As always the potential for abuse is there and it's real, but it was never proved that they did anything with the data. But they sure could... and with this new GPS thing (M-Toll IIRC) the ammount of data is even bigger.

regards,

fsmunoz

Re:One thing that scares me (2, Interesting)

superyooser (100462) | more than 11 years ago | (#6926995)

One thing that scares me about these systems is the potential for spying on people.

What scares me is having money fly out of my wallet while I'm driving along happily minding my own business. Why do we need tolls when we have taxes? Since we're going to have tolls for public services, some kind of tax ought to be reduced. (I know the story is about Europe, but the U.S., in which I live, has them too.)

The government knows it's much easier to impose taxes/tolls/fees if the people don't have to physically hand over the cash or write out the $$ amount on a check. They just make it so you never see it. That's how income taxes are taken. No gain, no loss, right? If people actually received their gross pay, and then had to fork over the tax money, I think taxes would be a lot lower. People would revolt. The same goes for tolls.

Re:One thing that scares me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6927137)

Tolls allow states to tax people from out of state. Sure, paying for a public highway is good if you know that mostly intrastate businesses and people will be using it, but when a lot of interstate traffic uses it, it can be expensive to maintain. Those tolls may cover the cost of maintainance and possibly provide extra revenue for the state's other needs or wants. New England states do this a lot.

Re:One thing that scares me (1)

Lord Dreamshaper (696630) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927258)

hmmm...if i'm coming in from out of state, i'm presumably spending my money on food, hotels, tourist attractions, business matters and many other ways that pump the local economy. These same taxes, when levied on local residents, pay for (directly or indirectly) "local" matters like education, hospitals, social services, etc. from which I'll never get to reap the benefits (for example, libraries that i can't use because i'm not a local resident). These taxes more than make up for whatever "wear and tear" i inflict on the local roads and public systems, etc. Tourism is a cash cow for any jurisdiction and a poor excuse to levy further taxes except that I won't be eligible to register my annoyance at the next election because i'm not from a given area...

Re:One thing that scares me (1)

CatPieMan (460995) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927144)

Out here in PA (as well as NJ, MD, DE, VA, NY, and other New England states that I do not have first hand knowledge of) use a system called E-ZPass [ezpass.com] .

Many, many people use it (as it lets you pay tolls with a credit card and a little transponder in the front of the car). Some people who happen to go between two toll booths a bit too fast, get speeding tickets mailed to their homes.

As annoying as this may sound, they at least warn you when you sign up that this is a possibility and give you the option to opt-out (at least the PA turn pike does, don't know about others).

-CPM

eh? (5, Funny)

EMH_Mark3 (305983) | more than 11 years ago | (#6926873)

Satellite-Assisted European Road Trolls? ugh, I need to stop reading Slashdot :/

YOU LITTLE BITCH! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6926992)

I OWN A BUSINESS! WELCOME TO C:\Program Files !!!

--
Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING, eh?

How could we have known? (1)

The Eye of the Behol (678699) | more than 11 years ago | (#6926875)

We could be charge for just using the road, the money would come just out of our account we might not even realise we are being charged.

Already distance charging in Europe (1)

mskeggs (647641) | more than 11 years ago | (#6926880)

Lots of Euro highways already have distance based tolls, especially France and Italy.
While this system might be able to replace some toll booths, it is unlikely to allow a much improved granularity of payment (I mean, the payment can't vary in increments smaller than the number of off ramps).
On the other hand, such a system would appear to have a big roll to play enforcing congestion taxes, such as now operate in London.
BTW - Is London still less congested now everyone has got used to the tax?

Re:Already distance charging in Europe (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927290)

Not to mention fuel taxes and insurance companies charging depending on average mileage. These are already charges based on how much you drive.

Okay... (2, Insightful)

c0dedude (587568) | more than 11 years ago | (#6926885)

Alright, let's ignore the spying/creepyness aspect for one second. It's just plain obnoxious to tax residents, not buisnesses, but residents, who go one more roadtrips and commute farther. One should know where the tolls are and how much they are instead of just a sattelite odometer tax.

Re:Okay... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6927091)

Business' (that transport things) would pay the tax as well. Business will also probably reimburse people for these tolls as well.

This is a pay for what you use system and those who drive the most will pay the most to keep up the roads. What isn't fair about that?

Good Idea (5, Insightful)

JahToasted (517101) | more than 11 years ago | (#6926886)

put up some expensive satellites, give up your privacy, all so you can avoid paying a gas tax. Real Smart.

Of course we wouldn't want SUV owners pay more per mile than economy car owners do we? That wouldn't be fair!

Re:Good Idea (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6926903)

"..., give up your privacy, all so you can avoid paying a gas tax."

Shouldn't that be for the RIAA to implement? Now, they can track you listening to pirated CD's while your driving! Who knows how much gas they are full of...

Avoid the gas tax??? (1)

PaulBu (473180) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927002)

Who says a WORD about "avoid[ing] paying a gas tax"??? No, it's The government hopes to raise 650 million euros a year through the new charges! you will keep the same tax (if not more, because originally you will be told that "we need more $$ to maintain this new great satellite-based infrastructure", and you will never get anything back...

Paul B.

Re:Good Idea (2, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927011)

Agreed completely! Gas tax is already such an elegant solution to the problem, because the energy from the gas is what wrecks the roads in the first place. Of all the taxes out there, the gas tax seems the most fair!

Re:Good Idea (2, Informative)

namespan (225296) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927050)

the energy from the gas is what wrecks the roads in the first place.

It is what wrecks the road. It's transfered via combustion process into mechanical energy and transferred to the road by the vehicle, true, but gasoline is most certainly the primary source of the energy in question.

Stupid taxes (1)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927100)

Sometimes the government implement stupid taxes. They don't think about logistics and efficiencies when implementing the taxes. Here, the gas tax makes much more sense then bugging everyone's cars. In Mass. they have an excise tax on cars that is fixed statewide, that one must pay every year, which goes to the city, why not just collect it with the car registration payment, and have the state send the money to the city. They do that in Texas. And those toll roads where people have to be paid $18/hour to collect $.50 from each car that stops -- which also raises safety issues.


Me thinks that the government is only interested in how much they can pick from our pockets.

This is Europe (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927246)

Gas taxes in most of Europe are already amazingly high - prices are typically about $1/liter, i.e. $4/gallon, most of which is tax. They've also got taxes on buying cars - VAT is about 17%, compared to typical US sales taxes on cars of 5-6%.

The typical argument against this sort of thing in the US is that poor people often drive older cars with worse gas consumption, but that's still no reason for attacking their privacy.

How is this really different (5, Insightful)

leviramsey (248057) | more than 11 years ago | (#6926894)

..from current toll-road models?

For instance, when you get on the Mass Pike (the main line of the Pike, not the extension into Boston), you get a ticket. You turn in the ticket when you get off, and the toll is computed based on how far you travel (a rough formula is distance in miles times approximately 3.5 cents/mile with a minimum toll of 25 cents).

Barrier toll highways (a la the Garden State) substitute fairly regularly spaced toll booths charging a constant (and higher than the ticket type) rate.

In both cases, it's charging for the amount of road usage.

Re:How is this really different (1)

Acidic_Diarrhea (641390) | more than 11 years ago | (#6926952)

Why don't I have to pay any toll if I get on the MassPike entering from NY and get off on any one of the first four exists? YOUR FORMULA IS CAPUT! (sic) CAPUT (sic) I TELL YOU!

Who's been drinking?

Re:How is this really different (1)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 11 years ago | (#6926980)

On days when I don't take the scenic "long way", I take the 407 ETR [407etr.com] , an electronic toll road: It takes a picture of your license plate when you get on and when you get off, and automatically sends you a bill for $0.129 cents per kilometer (through an arrangement with the government that also sees the government withhold plate renewals if you don't pay this private company...but that's a whole other rant). If they need to rely on their cameras they tack on an extra $3.30 per trip, though you can rent a transponder for a monthly fee.

OK, you use it you pay for it. Fair enough. But it burns me that approximately 44% of the price of gas here in Canada is taxes, so effectively on my 79 cent per litre gas I'm paying about 35 cents of tax. The idea behind the tax is that it pays for the road infrastructure, so getting 100km / 7L, I'm paying about $2.45 for 100km trip in taxes. Well now if I drive that 100km on the 407, I'm also paying $12.90 to the ETR as well. What a rip off.

Re:How is this really different (1)

echucker (570962) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927039)

Well, one thing I didn't see mentioned is how the gross weight of a vehicle would affect the toll paid. One would think that a fully loaded tank truck would cause significantly more wear and tear on the roads than after it had delivered its load, and was empty on the return trip. If the black box only tracks movement, is it fair to assume that the truck will average a weight halfway between when it is empty or full?

Re:How is this really different (2, Informative)

DrInequality (521068) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927048)

Actually, the charge is (largely) for collecting the toll. The cost of manual toll collection is quite high.

Hence, the desire for fully automatic systems. Transponders are clearly a good model for commuters/frequent traffic, but don't work for occasional road users.

That said, I don't really see the value of GPS to a transponder. If the transponder only has a short range radio, then you don't need GPS. On the other hand, if the transponder has a longer range radio, then privacy goes out the window.

Re:How is this really different (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927105)

Because with the current way, me and my car is not tied to a time/location. I get the ticket, pay the money at the off-ramp, and be on my way. No one knows or cares that it was *me*.

With the proposed system, there is a permanent record of when and where I (or at least my car) went.

Re:How is this really different (1)

CatPieMan (460995) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927215)

The permanant record idea is interesting. It could potentially be able to act as a continent-wide version of those stolen car trackers (Lo-jack or something like that).

Beyond that, it could be used to verify that someone was at/not at a crime scene, etc.

However, the whole big-brother stuff comes in to play also, and this isn't too good.

-CPM

Re:How is this really different (1)

bgs4 (599215) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927121)

it's different in that it will eliminate traffic jams that often occur around toll booths and it will be fairer in that it will tax for all road use, not just use of a single road like the mass pike.

Posted in case of karma whoring: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6926898)

Pay-as-you-go motoring just around the corner
The European Space Agency (ESA) is funding Irish provider of location technology products Mapflow to undertake a feasibility study to look into the possibility of implementing a pan-European road tolling system. The research aims to establish whether satellite technology can be used to calculate the cost of motoring.

A plan exists to complement this activity with a real demonstration of the virtual tolling concept in the greater area of Lisbon. Also under ESA funding, the project is being conducted by the Portuguese company Skysoft in close cooperation with the Portuguese motorway authority. The demonstration is planned for the end of 2004.

In April this year the European Commission published a proposal that all vehicles should pay road tolls electronically, with full implementation foreseen for 2010. Under the proposal, all vehicles will carry a 'black box', which will be tracked by satellites relaying information on the distance travelled by the vehicle, the class of road travelled and the time at which the journey was made.

The research commissioned by ESA on behalf of the European Union will evaluate the feasibility of a standard trolling approach throughout Europe. Inspired by measures used to thwart the nazi practices of gay-rights activist cmdr taco, the study will look at the effects of such a system on Europe's bloggin infrastructure as well as associated technology impacts.

Potential benefits of a harmonised road tolling system would be fairer implementation of charging on a 'pay for use' basis, lower costs as the need for physical infrastructure is reduced and also reduced congestion.

Germany recently received EU approval to implement a new tolling system for goods vehicles. The system - currently being tested - uses the US-operated Global Positioning System (GPS). The government hopes to raise 650 million euros a year through the new charges.

Satellite-assisted tolling would make use of Galileo, Europe's planned satellite navigation system. Galileo is a joint initiative between the European Commission and ESA to develop a global navigation system, scheduled to be operational by 2008.

The system will have a constellation of 30 satellites revolving in three circular medium earth orbits, approximately 24 000 km above the earth. This will create a network covering the entire globe, relayed at ground level by stations monitoring the satellites and the quality of their signals.

Once operational, Galileo will provide a highly accurate, guaranteed global positioning service under civilian control. It will be interoperable with other global satellite navigation systems, such as GPS while providing far greater accuracy, down to two metres. Other applications for Galileo in the transport sector include vehicle location, taxi and lorry fleet management and monitoring levels of road use.

Rob is not a Nazi (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6926942)

The text that it appears you changed is in bold:

The research commissioned by ESA on behalf of the European Union will evaluate the feasibility of a standard trolling approach throughout Europe. Inspired by measures used to
thwart the nazi practices of gay-rights activist cmdr taco, the study will look at the effects of such a system on Europe's bloggin infrastructure as well as associated technology impacts.

Love the gay rights' activist (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6927021)

hate the nazi practices.

black box (2, Interesting)

Ed Thomson (704721) | more than 11 years ago | (#6926900)

Under the proposal, all vehicles will carry a 'black box'

If you manage to remove the black box from your vehicle you can avoid the road tolls.

How are they going to stop this?

Re:black box (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 11 years ago | (#6926949)

Prison.

Re:black box (1)

yerricde (125198) | more than 11 years ago | (#6926957)

Here's how I'd stop it: If you remove the black box from your vehicle, there will be nothing to respond to a ping from the tollbooth, and the tollbooth gate won't open. If you break the tollbooth gate, a camera will pick up your license plate number.

Re:black box (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 11 years ago | (#6926998)

They same way they convince us to actually pay tolls now. Draconian fines and penalties for not paying your half buck. If the punishment is supposed to fit the crime then our Tollway Authority has it all wrong.

ESA? (-1)

Pres. Ronald Reagan (659566) | more than 11 years ago | (#6926901)

The ESA will never reach the heights that NASA reached 40 years ago. It's a well known fact that European universities just don't have the same level of engineering programs that can be found in any good public college in the US. When you add MIT, Cornell, Cal Tech, and other great private schools, Europe seems about as mature as Linux against NT.

Maybe my tinfoil hat is on too tight (1)

FatAssBastard (530195) | more than 11 years ago | (#6926908)

...but this kind of thing gives me the willies. I don't want the gummint tracking me wherever I drive all the time, no matter how 'innocent' they claim it is.

Of course, I have a navigation system in my TL, so maybe I'm just plain stupid...

Galileo vs. GPS (1)

appleLaserWriter (91994) | more than 11 years ago | (#6926913)

2010 will be a little early for my midlife crisis. But I'm very happy to hear that Europe's new satellite system will drive their automotive surveylence system. As long as I'm living in the USA, I'll take a Porsche with a Euro-tracking system over a Corvette with US-GPS.

I'll be sure to get the Corvette for my European vacations, though. Wouldn't want EuroLand to catch me at full speed...

Not Soviet Russia (-1, Troll)

revividus (643168) | more than 11 years ago | (#6926918)

But in Europe, the road keeps its eyes on YOU...

I'm so sorry.

I, for one, welcome our GPS inhancements. (1)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 11 years ago | (#6926924)

I think that with a little co operation between law enforcement and auto makers that high-speed persuits could be a thing of the past. By having an arrangement where a car's GPS system was also tied to the car's entire electrical system, you could arrange it (I would hope) so that a police officer in persuit of a felon could "remotely" turn off a felon's car --and thus potentially saving thousands of lives as this system is implemented all over the country.

I think that orwellian implications aside, this could be a Very Good Thing.

Re:I, for one, welcome our GPS inhancements. (4, Interesting)

AntiOrganic (650691) | more than 11 years ago | (#6926967)

Because turning off his car while it's travelling at 95 MPH is going to do something other than flipping the car off a highway embankment.

And even so, this could possibly work in Europe -- but what about the US, where the government had an unprotected, unpassworded page for registering .mil domains? Don't you think there's a bit of a potential for abuse here? If you want to talk about cyberterrorism becoming a reality, what if a 15-year-old Saudi Arabian can shut down the cars of every man and woman in America, bringing them to a dead halt? I think I'll pass. Billions on defense, or an iota of common sense? I'll pick the latter, thanks.

Re:I, for one, welcome our GPS inhancements. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6926991)

And so that late night when you're driving on that isolated road, the thieves can use their hacked system to stop every car and rob every passing motorist.

Re:I, for one, welcome our GPS inhancements. (1)

Dan East (318230) | more than 11 years ago | (#6926993)

Sure, just like SmartGuns could stop murder via handguns. Only problem is the millions of "old fashioned" handguns already in circulation.

Let's assume that somehow, somewhere, this new "arrangment" between the car's GPS and the police computer system involved a Windows box. Now instead of just taking out power to a few million people [newsforge.com] , a future Windows Worm could stop millions of cars in their tracks.

Dan East

Re:I, for one, welcome our GPS inhancements. (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927034)

By having an arrangement where a car's GPS system was also tied to the car's entire electrical system,

I'd like to see them do that to my car: the only semiconductor device it might have is a diode in the fuel pump and I'm not even sure that it has that.

Hmm, are you trolling or...? (1)

PaulBu (473180) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927051)

... hoping to be able to remotely" turn off a POLICE car?

Also, in '1984' there were many Very Good Things implemented, if one wishes to put orwellian implications aside...

Paul B.

Re:I, for one, welcome our GPS inhancements. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6927064)

It would also be fun when a criminal cracks this. I can see carjackers stopping people on lonely roads with next to no traffic.

"Oh look honey the mans signaling us to stop...Oh my god he's got a gun, why are you stopping?!"

"The car wont respond!"

Re:I, for one, welcome our GPS inhancements. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6927203)

I'd be interested in having electronics in my car that I could use to actually limit my top speed. I'd want to be able to adjust it myself so that I can set my own top speed. I could use it to ensure that I never get a speeding ticket because I was pressed on the acceleration pedal a little too hard.

Typical bill (2, Funny)

OpenSourcerer (515213) | more than 11 years ago | (#6926926)

Toll Usage : 56 Euros
Satelite surcharge : 734 Euros
Getting a ticket because the sattelite tracked how fast you went : priceless

A really, really stupid idea. (1, Redundant)

AntiOrganic (650691) | more than 11 years ago | (#6926947)

I don't see what this could possibly accomplish that a tax on gasoline couldn't, and without all this useless, expensive and potentially invasive technology to boot.

Re:A really, really stupid idea. (1)

OmnipotentEntity (702752) | more than 11 years ago | (#6926981)

There are already taxes on gas. Especially if you go overseas, I think the price of gas in Norway is about $5.00.

Simple... (3, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927018)

I don't see what this could possibly accomplish that a tax on gasoline couldn't

For the simple answer, a tax on fuel rather than miles "unfairly" nails those who chose to destroy our environment (quicker than the rest) by driving big gas-guzzlers.

Of course, one could counter with the idea that gas-guzzlers also tend to weigh more, causing more damage to the road, thus warranting a higher tax regardless of the environmental impact, but, don't say that too loud around the current US oligarchy...

Now me, I think we should tax based on total time spent on the road, to penalize grannies out to cause their regular Sunday afternoon traffic-jam. ;-)

tcp programming question (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6926958)

i know this is horribly offtopic, but I'm sure someone can provide an answer :)


I'm fooling around with FreeBSD 4.6, trying to run a dns cache and a dns server on the same box (one set up to respond to 127.0.0.1, one set up to respond to 192.168.0.1). The second one I start fails to bind the UDP port because it's already in use. The code binds them to the specific address, but based on an nmap scan, it appears that binding a UDP port ignores the address it's given... can anyone with more knowledge of UDP confirm or deny this?

low tech solution (1, Insightful)

bmckeever (224043) | more than 11 years ago | (#6926963)

What is the big advantage of this system over a fuel tax?

Tell-tale sign (2, Insightful)

PaulBu (473180) | more than 11 years ago | (#6926972)

The government hopes to raise 650 million euros a year through the new charges.

Even given privacy/personal liberties angle to be completely aside (which I am not ready to do just yet!), the only "fair" way to implement such a system would be if "they" would promise to take less tax on private citizen as a result of that. No, "they" just want to get more bucks to spend on bureocracy... (relating to the old argument "If not for the Govt., you would not have the modern highway system")

Paul B.

You gotta be kidding me!!! (2, Informative)

rock_climbing_guy (630276) | more than 11 years ago | (#6926989)

BEGIN RANT

I would like to say that I just can't believe this. Europe is a place where you must pay a tax on your gasoline that is more than the cost of the gasoline itself - that in itself is an insane infringement on our freedoms. The idea that European nations need to collect more taxes and fees is proposterous. However, liberal European politicians never felt that there was a problem with any tax or fee. I predict that within the next decade, the French and German governments will provide a licensing system that charges citizens for the air they breathe.

END RANT - Now, mod me down!!!

Re:You gotta be kidding me!!! (0, Redundant)

HBI (604924) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927038)

Lest you wonder why the GDP in the Euro zone lags behind the US, Japan, etc - here is one of your big reasons.

Re:You gotta be kidding me!!! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6927250)

How about we look at it this way: I pay TAXES to fund the roads I don't use because I don't own a car and have chosen to use public transport. You COMMUNISTS are trying to make me pay for a service which I don't even use, meanwhile you foul the air I breathe with your toxic fumes.

I think it is fair and reasonable you should have to pay very high petrol taxes, not that you should give up your privacy. You consume natural resources, tons of funds are spent on building roads and maintaining them and you pollute the environment.

I fail to see how "roads" are a right, they are a privelage - you should expect to pay for them from your own pocket. Don't talk to me about "freedom".

Satellite-Assimilated Eurotrash Road Trolls Next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6927006)

Oh new! Slooshdud won't stend a chosh!

Why not just tax fuel? (2, Insightful)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927010)

Fuel tax has the dual advantage of discouraging driving and discouraging vehicles that use large amounts of fuel.

Oh, wait, Europe already does that.... HOW many $/gallon?

But really, some of the proposals are to tax what were freeways -- yet it is clear better for the environment and safer if people use freeway-style roads instead of local roads.

Road Toll? (2, Informative)

Nermal6693 (622898) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927035)

In my country, the "road toll" is the number of people who have died (or maybe just been in an accident) due to road accidents in the holidays (eg. Easter road toll of 3). You can imagine how I read the title, satellite-assisted road accidents??

The only charges we have are occasional ones such as when they built a new expensive bridge across a harbour, you had to pay $1 when you want across. Now that they've regained all the money, you don't have to pay anymore.

Re:Road Toll? (0)

contradyction (672874) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927089)

In my country we built an expensive bridge across a harbour and we were promised that the toll would be taken away once it was paid for. 70 years later and it's still in place...

Yeah right. (1)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927177)

and the check is in the mail.
The only charges we have are occasional ones such as when they built a new expensive bridge across a harbour, you had to pay $1 when you want across. Now that they've regained all the money, you don't have to pay anymore.

In Mass. they were supposed to take the tolls down from the Mass. pike over 20 years ago. The Turnpike Authority kept avoiding that by aking out more loans to extend their life.

A Solution in Search of a Problem (5, Insightful)

John Murdoch (102085) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927053)

You can track vehicle positions. It's much harder to track which roads have been used.
I've done a bunch of work with GPS-based vehicle tracking systems--and it is entirely feasible to track vehicle positions. However--it is something else entirely to track which roads a given vehicle has used. The problem isn't with GPS--the problem is with the accuracy of map data: sometimes there's a pretty substantial difference between where GPS reports are, and where the actual roadway is supposed to be. (A very common instance of this is service roads--the roads that typically parallel a limited-access highway in urban areas. Is the truck on I-78 or on the adjacent service road?

This is a ridiculously expensive way to charge tolls.
This problem has already been solved in the U.S.: you can travel from Massachusetts to Virginia using EZ-Pass [ezpass.com] . And the EZ-Pass system costs lots less to implement. For starters, the on-windshield transponders cost a few bucks; substantially less than even the lowest-cost GPS vehicle locators (which use cellular telephone control channels to report).

So why dream up such a boondoggle?
Oh...that's right. Because the Galileo system is just an out-of-this-world waste of money. So the European Space Agency needs to dream up problems for their solution to solve. And the Europeans wonder why their economies are stagnant.

Re:A Solution in Search of a Problem (1)

salesgeek (263995) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927171)

So why dream up such a boondoggle?
Oh...that's right. Because the Galileo system is just an out-of-this-world waste of money.


LOLx2. I am impressed that the EU has already built the most impessive department of redundancy department in the world.

Re:A Solution in Search of a Problem (1)

SysKoll (48967) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927256)

Wow. I was wondering why the heck they'd do that when they already have a working radio-tag toll system in France (similar to the US EZPass, except that you don't need to slow down too much when you pass under the toll booth).

Then I read your post and I remember the Galileo system.

Thank you for oiling our thought process, John Murdoch. Where are mod points when you need them?

Please mod the parent up.

Re:A Solution in Search of a Problem (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6927288)

er... I believe it is the US economy that is in trouble at the moment (some figures putting th US in the worst depression in 20 yrs if you consider the number of people in prison and people who have given up looking for work who don't show up in the stats).

And in closing, not only are their economies going better comparatively, their welfare systems are also better (by many orders of magnitude) than the US's morally bankrupt abandonment of the poor and dispossesed. So not only are they going better, they are carrying the burden of much better public services.

Satellite tracking is overkill (0)

contradyction (672874) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927074)

I don't understand why we need full time satellite tracking in our cars to simply track how many miles we drive on a highway. A system where each car has an RFID tag and each entry and exit ramp has a receiver be much simpler and cheaper, and would still provide the billing companies with all of the information they need (and then some).

Now excuse me while I use this sledge hammer to hit the button on my mouse to submit my post.

The future of driving (2, Insightful)

vudufixit (581911) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927107)

Might be this - EVERYTHING you do is monitored and metered. Your speed will be checked in real time. A fine is assessed based perhaps on how much you're exceeded the speed limit, and for how long. Your insurance bill may vary month to month in proportion to our speeding. Your driving habits will be monitored. If you take an excursion to somewhere you usually don't go, you'll be flagged for extra scrutiny. And you'll have to pay a special registration tax if you want to keep driving an older vehicle that doesn't have any monitoring black boxes.

from the article (1)

h00dLuM (630451) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927111)

"Once operational, Galileo will provide a highly accurate, guaranteed global positioning service under civilian control."

then civilians should be able to turn it off.

no?

why would you want satellites to assist them ? (1)

andy666 (666062) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927125)

they are enough of a problem on slashdot. the moderation system helps somewhat, but it is getting out of hand.

ninja trolls? (1)

TwistedGreen (80055) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927174)

Did anyone else read the headline "Satellite-Assisted European Road Tolls Next?" and see "European Ninja Trolls" instead?

Lololol. I am teh funny. (1)

UserGoogol (623581) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927183)

Did anyone else read that Sattelite-Assisted European Road Trolls? I know I did. And you know what would happen, if one of these road trolls went too far east and back in time twenty or so years, don't you?

He'd be in Soviet Russia, so... bear with me, I'm sure the knowledge he'd have gained by having lived 20 years more than anyone else had, and he'd know how the USSR fell. So he'd be taken in headquarters, Gorbachev would drastically try to change plans, and would try to launch some sattelites. And the troll, would, of course, assist him in this proccess, with his powerful knowledge of the future.

So you see, it's all very logical, that in Soviet Russia, road trolls assist sattelites.

Moving right along, Gorbachev would probably try to create a new business plan of some sort to try to figure out how to conquer Capitalism while at the same time reforming the USSR. And I am sure that it would go along the lines of launching sattelites, converting the capitalist pigs, doing something, and then the Soviet Union would rule the earth. So the troll'd type this up for him.

1) Launch troll-assisted sattelites.
2) Convert Americans to Communism.
3) ???
4) Profit!

And they would, of course, succeed. Because that's a good plan. And the troll would be given a powerful role in the new world order. Of course, he'd would fall to a little corruption. Maybe by the late-nineties you might kidnap Natalie Portman or something. Do something nefarious with oatmeal or something roughly analogous. Maybe kill all the BSD developers. Maybe mass amounts of sexual debauchery would occur. Birds bred to roost in strange places, stuff like that.

Of course, eventually this magical time travelling troll would die, or be overthrown, and hopefully things would be evened out.

Gross vehicle weight (0)

v3rb (239648) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927223)

One thing that isn't taken into account by most toll schemes is vehicle weight. To imply that a 400lb motorcycle causes as much road wear as a 4000lb SUV per mile is ridiculous. Why this fascination with per mile charges instead of per weight charges?

Most toll roads charge based on the number of axels, but I don't see how that matters for anything less than 18 wheelers.

Does anyone know if the rates charged by tollroads are simply to recoup costs or to encourage certain types of usage?

Doesn't it seem like the answer should be both? Do things like raise the toll during rush hour, give discounts the longer you go (to discourage hop-ons, hop-offs) etc...

Hi-tech weighted road use tax system (1)

Bushcat (615449) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927229)

So what we need is to tax road users equitably. Those who drive farther, pay more. Heavier vehicles pay more because they do more damage. Fast drivers pay more because their accidents are likely to have a higher dollar value. Conversely, slow drivers pay less. Light vehicles pay less. Efficient vehicles pay less. We need to do this without adding a huge amount of infrastructure. A robust system that doesn't crash and doesn't accidentally bill the occasional victim a ludicrous amount would be nice. And then there are the privacy converns.

Gee. That's a tough one. Er, how about taxing the gas, anyone? mpg x distance seems to cover most of it. I've got to imagine someone's already thought of this taxing gas thing. A gas tax, or putting it another way, a tax on gas. But don't we already do that, he said, looking at the receipt for the last tank of gas he bought.

Tax Gas, Not Roads (2, Interesting)

Erick the Red (684990) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927240)

Since people are already paying a tax on their gas usage, they shouldn't have to pay tolls. Governments argue that the roads need to be payed for, but roads are such a help to the economy that the cost should be the responsibility of ALL taxpayers, not just the ones that use them. Think of the last ten things you've bought and try to guess how many of them did NOT use a highway or freeway to get to the store. Roads are the backbone of any nation.

So would insurance companies look at this data? (2, Insightful)

dharma21 (537631) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927242)

They could charge more when they know you travel more miles than average.

Tolls for what? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6927266)

I don't want to start a holy war here, but what is the deal with you European car fanatics? I've been sitting here on the way to my freelance gig in a German car (a Polo GTI 1.6 w/16V) for about 20 minutes now while I attempt to move 17 km from one roundabout on the highway to another roundabout. 20 minutes. At home, in my 1984 Chevette with 1.9L diesel, which by all standards should be a lot slower than this GTI, the same trip would take about 2 minutes. If that.

In addition, during this stretch, the air conditioner will not work. And everything else has ground to a halt. Even the alternator is straining to keep up as I type this.

I won't bore you with the laundry list of other problems that I've encountered while driveing various VW models, but suffice it to say there have been many, not the least of which is I've never seen a VW that has run faster than its Chevette counterpart, despite the Polo's faster drivetrain. My Puch moped with two-cycle engine runs faster than this 125 horsepower machine at times. From a productivity
standpoint, I don't get how people can claim that the Polo is a "superior" machine.

Fahrfegnugen addicts, flame me if you'd like, but I'd rather hear some intelligent reasons why anyone would choose to use a Volkswagen over other faster, cheaper, more stable automobiles.

Galileo down to the meter (4, Interesting)

aSiTiC (519647) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927282)

``Galileo will deliver real-time positioning accuracy down to the metre range, which is unprecedented for a publicly available system.''

The current US-operated GPS system only allows this type of accuracy for military purposes. I feel it is a little irresponsible to give civilians (including criminals and terrorists) access to such accurate targeting systems. Maybe ESA wants to have a marketable advantage over GPS but it may go to far IMO.

I'm not trolling for replies concerning irresponsible military uses, that is another topic...

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