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FETC International Leverages Advantech MachineUnite in Overseas Smart City Applications

Date: 12/27/2021 12:00:00 AM

Interview with Sam Chuo, Senior Business Development Manager at Advantech, and Kenny Chen, CEO of FETCi Thailand and Vice President of FETC

An electronic toll collection (ETC) system used in Taiwan for 17 years, has attracted the attention of several countries — namely Malaysia, India, Kazakhstan, and Vietnam. These countries seek to adopt similar systems customized to meet their individual, local requirements. These requirements have inspired the Far Eastern Toll Collection Company Ltd. (FETC) to set up FETC International, a subsidiary responsible for the development of various innovative solutions and businesses aimed at exporting ETC.

Advantech and FETC International have cooperated on a next-generation ETC management platform implemented in Thailand. This system helps local maintenance personnel remove obstacles quickly and reduces maintenance costs. Advantech produced a solution that leveraged standard functions from Advantech’s MachineUnite solution augmented with low-code customization. This achieved 3D digital twinning without secondary development procedures; thus maximizing the management efficiency of mast systems and roadside equipment.

ETC and Parking Management as the Basis for Smart City Applications

Mr. Kenny Chen, CEO of FETCi Thailand and Vice President of FETC, pointed out that FETC is a renowned ETC design, construction, and operation leader. Despite this, their services are not limited to ETC solutions. They also provide on/off-street parking solutions intended to deliver convenient parking services. In addition, FETC International helps develop AI license plate recognition systems, parking management systems, and fast-in/out applications. Likewise, FETC International is conducting integrated research and development into electric vehicles and their charging solutions.

FETC International applies their diverse technical strengths to various smart city application scenarios aimed at foreign government agencies and road management units. Likewise, governments in South East Asia are seeking solutions that reduce human contact during the pandemic. This has spurred their interest in contactless application models similar to those used in Taiwan and has presented FETC with diverse business opportunities. Thailand presented one such opportunity. By adopting FETCs International’s innovative ETC management platform, Thailand became FETCs first example of overseas sales expansion.

“Applying our experience from FETC International to the project in Thailand presented major challenges,” added Mr. Chen. FETC International needed to provide a solution that supported the development of an operating system, regardless of the user interface and the operational monitoring mechanism of the equipment. This was done to empower users to start quickly and enables them to monitor and manage myriad equipment including IP cams, LiDAR, RFID readers, network devices, and gantry/toll station servers.

FETC International has decided to collaborate with  Advantech, in an effort to leverage Advantech’s WISE-PaaS Industrial IoT cloud platform. WISE-PaaS provides device access, device management, remote maintenance, and AI model training. FETC International can use WISE-PaaS to collect data and establish AI models that send out warnings for diverse events — including abnormal battery discharge/air-conditioner operation. This system can simultaneously display data on a central dashboard, enabling managers to quickly survey equipment status in order to take appropriate action.

MachineUnite Empowers Digital Twin Applications

Mr. Chen added FETC International established an overseas branch called "FETCi Thailand" in Thailand to ensure the smooth delivery of this project. FETC International and Advantech will leverage Advantech’s WISE-PaaS software and MachineUnite solution to establish 2D, 3D, and/or VR-based equipment monitoring capabilities. This will allow managers to observe the gantry/toll station structure, steel, and equipment placement using Zoom-in. Zoom-in enables its users to communicate with on-site personnel accurately and intuitively. Likewise, it enables them to locate and repair problem points immediately. In the end, these functions help the Thai operators improve maintenance efficiency, reduce labor costs, and ease expressway toll operation.

Advantech’s Senior Business Development Manager, Sam Chuo, said that MachineUnite delivers several key advantages. First, it provides a variety of machine templates that enable project teams to quickly and easily complete machine monitoring and access. Secondly, it has a high degree of deployment flexibility — regardless of whether it is deployed in a private cloud or a public cloud. In addition, it provides various panel functions such as card-based grasping of machine status, online viewing and exporting of machine documents, alarm records/machine abnormalities, ticket records/machine maintenance progress as well as abnormal analysis and fault diagnosis, machine performance analysis, and health prediction models as such other intelligent analysis and diagnosis functions. MachineUnite also provides a VPN solution that helps users by establishing a dedicated data channel that empowers remote access and secure updates.

The use of MachineUnite delivered unique advantages to Thailand’s endeavor. Indeed, the basic framework of MachineUnite supports drag-and-drop functions that support the generation of 3D models and equipment lists. These functions ease and hasten the creation of digital twin applications. Through cross-border cooperation and meaningful collaboration, FETC International plans to continue leveraging Advantech's industry strengths in an effort to expand smart city and smart transportation applications in South East Asia.

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