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What happened to the promised “sophisticated, smartphone-sized” ERP 2.0 OBU in 2016?

In 2016, LTA awarded a S$556 million contract to NCS and MHI Engine System to develop Singapore’s ERP 2.0. Chew Men Leong, then-LTA CEO, promised a compact, smartphone-sized onboard unit. However, the delivered OBU in 2023 is not as compact and consists of three pieces.



The Land Transport Authority (LTA) of Singapore faced significant backlash from motorists following the introduction of the new On-Board Unit (OBU) for the Electronic Road Pricing (ERP 2.0) system, with many expressing frustration over the inconvenience caused by the OBU for cars.

On 2 May, LTA released an update on the new OBU improvements, including eliminating the need for motorists to remove their CEPAS card from the OBU while driving or when entering and exiting car parks, thus addressing a primary safety concern.

The LTA also emphasized the flexibility in the installation of the processing unit and touchscreen display, allowing vehicle owners to choose locations within their vehicles that suit their needs and preferences.

Many motorists have also questioned why LTA persists in rolling out the bulky 3-piece OBU design, which they find inconvenient and raised concerns about why LTA couldn’t introduce a more compact 1-piece design.

In an earlier explanation, LTA cited temperature concerns. They noted that in the enclosed space of a car interior, temperatures can soar, often exceeding 50 degrees Celsius, especially when the car is parked under direct sunlight.

LTA further explained that the processing unit of the OBU, akin to a mini-computer, cannot function reliably under such high temperatures. Hence, it cannot be safely mounted on the dashboard area of a car. The footwell area offers lower temperatures, providing a more suitable environment.

However, LTA’s explanation has not satisfied many netizens. Some question why the one-piece unit for motorcycles, which presumably contains similar technology, can withstand heat, while the new OBU for cars cannot.

In 2020, when LTA first unveiled the new OBU design for both cars and motorcycles, the online community had already expressed concerns about why LTA was replacing the current one-piece IU with “three equally clunky and chunky devices”.

Concerns regarding safety hazards and additional dashboard obstructions were raised at that time.

Senior Minister of State for Transport Amy Khor, in October 2021, responding to public feedback, said that the authorities will proceed with the device while continuing to explore improvements.

The decision to proceed with the design, which was initially unpopular, is said to be due to LTA being contractually bound to the OBU design after awarding the tender in 2016; thus, any alterations would incur additional costs.

However, it’s also worth revisiting the statements made by the LTA when the tender for the new Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) system was awarded.

Referring back to a 2016 announcement by LTA, it was Chew Men Leong, the CEO of LTA at the time, who said that drivers can look forward towards a “sophisticated, smartphone-sized onboard unit,” originally anticipated to be rolled out starting from 2020.

To replace the existing gantry-based ERP system, which had been operational for 25 years, LTA committed to implementing ERP 2.0, a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS)-based system.

In February 2016, contractors NCS Pte Ltd (NCS), a subsidiary of Singapore Telecommunications Ltd, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Asia Pacific Pte Ltd (MHI) secured a contract to construct a system. This system offers islandwide coverage and the capability to charge based on distance traveled.

The winning bid of S$556 million from the partnership was significantly lower than the S$1.2 billion bid submitted by the other qualified bidder, ST Electronics.

Chew, who served as LTA CEO from October 2014 to November 2016, stated that the NCS-MHI bid was deemed superior to that of ST Electronics, and it “fit within the LTA’s budget.”

Local media reported that the anticipated OBU, roughly the size of a smartphone, could display travel advisories and alert motorists to charging points. Additionally, it could be used to pay for roadside parking, checkpoint tolls, and the use of off-peak cars electronically.

In response to inquiries about the substantial discrepancy between the two qualifying bids, Mr Chew expressed confidence in the winning team’s ability to “execute the project in a commercially viable way.”

So, given that Chew had the impression that the eventual OBU would be the size of a smartphone back in 2016 when the tender was awarded, wouldn’t it be the case that this was what was envisioned?

Did anything change between the time the tender was awarded and when the tender winners realized that the price bid was insufficient for the anticipated product?

Amy Khor stressed irreplaceability of ERP 2.0 OBU, citing smartphone limitations

The ERP 2.0 which was supposed to be operational by 2020, faced delays, first to 2021, and then to the second half of 2023, due to a global microchip shortage exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initial phase of installation commenced in November 2023, focusing on company vehicles as the first recipients of the OBU.

Since then, over 18,000 vehicles have been equipped, and the system has undergone several modifications based on feedback from early adopters.

During the 6 November 2023 parliamentary session, SMS Khor emphasized that ERP 2.0 cannot be entirely replaced by smartphone technology.

She underscored the importance of the OBU can “better ensure reliability and performance, and reduce significant downstream operational challenges, such as disputes regarding charging inaccuracies”.

Regarding the use of smartphones for ERP transactions, Dr Khor highlighted the inconvenience for motorists, who would need to initiate their mobile apps, enter passcodes, or use biometric authentication each time they travel, potentially leading to inadvertent neglect of the ERP process.

“This is inconvenient to motorists, and some may inadvertently forget to start their mobile apps for the ERP.”

However, Dr Khor acknowledged earlier feedback about the OBU’s inelegant and bulky design, mentioning the development of a mobile interface for those who opt against installing the touchscreen display.

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 I worked a few hours online for this internet job last month and received $17529. Start making extra money online by simply following these guidelines.

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When you tell these technicians where to put it, if it is not convenient for them to do it, they will say no good place or can’t. In the end, it is just the one or two places they think are suitable or convenient for them. So this is a redundant statement.

LTA or Low Tier Asshole is just a statboard, they are fully supported by PAP or Poop As Poop on this.

Even if one in vehicle device become three, even if the design sucks like pap and most crucially make ever more money from the citizens, they will do it because pap also known as pay and pay.

They should do Sinkies a favour by obsoleting LTA, so far all their major projects ended below expectations new blood required in this stultified organisation!!!??

The Singapore Asian Dragon which Old Lee built is turned into a lizard by Loong – agree?

When Old Lee built SG Asian Dragon, For Trash are aliens. Now For Trash IS a STAPLE SG, like the rice people eat everyday.
Sigh. Sigh. Sigh.

So 4 years AGO LTA BS as is the same as their Political Lords, when LTA is ONLY a Govt service IN NAME, NOT serving Poreans.

Now PAP is ass-wards.

When there is a very, very big difference in the bids, a prudent buyer (LTA) would or should wonder why the bids were $1.2 bil and $556 mil. For example, if the Police requests for bids to supply new vehicles, the difference would be very stark if company A sends a bid to supply Proton while company B puts in Audis in its bid. Now, if price is the criteria, company A would very probably win and the Police would drive Protons. And policemen would complain about image, that the car does not have enough power in a high speed… Read more »

This PAP Administration is getting BOLDER to SKIN Singaporeans alive day by day. It’s getting EGREGIOUS.

Every Singaporean TO ASSIST the PAP to go F themselves in GE. If NOT the PAP ll F more Singaporeans AND their CHILDREN. The Future LOOKS BLEAK for All of Us – MORE LIES to Win VOTES.

No Blame Culture

Lying Culture.

Corrupted culture.

Threatening Culture – esp on upgrading when National Find are available to All.

Actually LTA delivered what it said – each of the OBU components is about smartphone sized. It didn’t claim we need to carry 3 smartphone sized components placed at various parts of our bodies in order to make a simple phone call.

Like they said Swizz standards but we thought they meant Swiss standards.

(Def: Swizz – something disappointing, a phony, a scam, a swindle)

, …… four years and S$556m later, it is still, … a piece of crap !!!

It’s just like the standard of our government, it’s getting worse off…. Also like promises of good jobs for locals, it’s all cocks and bull shits.

The size of the clunky gadgets is just the tip of the iceberg problem. From now on, the gobblement can track you and your vehicle all over Asia where you drive, where you went, with whom, which hotel, maybe how many mistresses you have. You will be tracked 24/7!!!! Privacy goes down the toilet and like the trace together fiasco lies, you will be tracked by the police and the gobblement wherever you go. Stupid Singaporeans. So obediently surrender your most precious privacy to the gobblement. This is full and total control over Singaporeans. No horse run liao!

Smell like got kelong money, hor. Other bidder, ST Electronics, which is kaki-lang, may had been instructed to super over-bid so that 556m bid from NCS-MHI would look reasonable.

ForeSEE ERP3.0 OBU is even bigger and has to be installed on top the ceiling like a tank turret.

The smart phone that Mr Chew was referencing to was perhaps the size of the 1st Gen iPhone. If you were to fault him now, Mr Chew would tell you the iPhone size is much bigger today.

In any case, the NCS-MHI bid was deemed superior to that of ST Electronics, simply by cost, a whopping 50% lower. Which LTA scholar doesn’t want to take credit for saving the government money? Alas the NCS scholars also want to be one up by generating more profit for NCS by supplying a far inferior size OBS

Last edited 18 days ago by OneSingapore

anything that fugly eggme touches turns into sxxx. Most useless piecevof sxxx she is.

Likely 3 separate groups were assigned to design the 3 part-components, and there were NO COORDINATION between the groups to combine under ONE unit. Sounds familiar?

Also, I really question how much beta-site testing was done by LTA before rolling it out to the public.

Better yet, how about scrapping the concept of “ERP?” It does not alleviate congestion.

But I’m sure the vendor companies that are “selling” these garbage tier products to the ruling government are raking in the dough.

Has anyone investigated whether the vendors are related to the ruling government? Perhaps grassroot leaders or the relatives of those in power.

Got check check who are those ppl in NCS when Iswaran was Transport ministar of not?
If got check, then what did you see?😆😆😆😆🤣🤣🤣

25 yrs ago technology can beat today’s advanced world technology. Well done LTA.

It’s like from ERP 1.0 instead of the so-called update to ERP 2.0, it’s definitely a downgrade to ERP 0.2

And it’s from that Amy Khor who’s famous picture frying eggs without the need for a fire so ERP can be anyone’s imagination or.. nightmare for all users

Last edited 18 days ago by Singapore Fooled Again n Again