Retrofit of ERP 2.0 OBU in your car to replace its IU - frequently asked questions by the car if it was animate

Published by on . Updated on 9 May 2024

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Existing cars on the road have to swop their old In-vehicle Unit (IU) for the new On-Board Unit (OBU) to get ready for next-generation Electronic Road Pricing.

This massive IU-to-OBU changeover exercise by Land Transport Authority (LTA) involves a few hundred thousand cars in private hands and corporate fleets alike, along with the many thousands of commercial vehicles owned/operated by numerous companies and individuals.  

LTA is said to have considered the feedback from the vehicle owners and authorised installers in the first phase of the exercise which started in November 2023, so as to make practical improvements to the installation process.  

However, nobody asked the passenger cars for their thoughts. Therefore, here is our list of FAQs about the retrofit of the ERP 2.0 OBU to replace the classic IU, presented from the car’s unspoken point of view.

I feel an emotional attachment to my IU, which has been part of my windscreen since day one. May I keep the IU as a motoring memento after it’s replaced by the OBU?

No, the used IU will be returned to LTA after it is removed from the vehicle by the authorised workshop. 

Incidentally, LTA has not announced any disposal plan for the dismantled IUs, which will eventually add up to about a million units of defunct devices. Recycling this e-waste would probably be better for the environment.   

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If my master prefers to mount the OBU processing unit on his side of the cockpit and it’s technically feasible, would the mounting procedure be the same as for the default position?

Mounting the OBU processing unit, which holds the CEPAS card, at a location different from the standard, tried-and-tested location (in the passenger footwell, on the side of the centre console) would probably entail a deviation from the installation guidelines to ensure safety and reliability. 

For example, it might require the drilling of holes for nuts and bolts at the mounting point if it is in the driver’s footwell area. This is to secure the processing unit more tightly with a bracket or similar fixture, in addition to using the industrial-strength double-sided tape meant for the standard mounting position/procedure. 

The reason in this case is to prevent the unit from detaching, dropping to the floorboard and then blocking the brake pedal, which could be dangerous. 

Two other possible installation locations for the OBU processing unit are under the glovebox (middle or to either side, secured using adhesive if workable) or under the driver’s seat (with an appropriate fitting base for the floorboard underneath). 

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The touchscreen’s start-up showing Gardens by the Bay is nice, but I have even nicer images of my engine bay, may I change the picture?

The touchscreen’s start-up (“Hello”) and shut-down (“Goodbye”) images show Singapore’s lovely Gardens by the Bay in daylight and nighttime respectively, which are pretty pictures worthy of any Singapore-registered car, from a basic runabout to a fantastic flagship. 

These images are programmed into the OBU system and cannot be replaced with JPEGs of your choice, no matter how beautiful or meaningful they might be. Changing the original images over the air as part of a firmware update is technically possible, but only by LTA.

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The same mechanic has been taking good care of my mechanical needs and I trust him, may I nominate him to install my OBU? 

More than 300 authorised OBU workshops are slated to be ready for this national transport task by the second half of this year, so there is a fair chance that your favourite workshop will be on the list of approved OBU installation centres. 

But if it is not, you may contact LTA (6377-2255) for further advice. You can also consider going to your second-favourite workshop or a popular one to install your OBU. 

As this is a straightforward retrofit of a universal LTA gadget and not the complicated overhaul of an engine, any authorised workshop should be able to do the job properly, especially if the installers have already installed at least a few hundred OBUs by then. 

LTA will deploy service ambassadors at some workshops in the coming months to familiarise motorists with their newly-installed OBU.

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The three-piece OBU is obviously bigger than the classic IU, but is it destined for greater things?

Yes, for sure. The On-Board Unit is versatile enough to support other motoring functions in due course. These include streetside public parking, toll payment at ICA’s Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints, activation of off-peak car usage licences, and temporary deactivation of card charging in a carpark to facilitate complimentary parking with a ticket. 

LTA also planned for the OBU to be able to alert the driver before he/she enters a road or expressway with ERP in operation. The OBU is also ready for distance-based charging when it is rolled out as Singapore’s next traffic-management tool. 

As for potential future functions such as speeding detection/deterrence (for Traffic Police), vehicle accident data provision (e.g. for motor insurance claims and road safety improvements), and geotagging (e.g. for legal matters or criminal investigations), these are not known to be in the pipeline. 

According to LTA, ERP 2.0 will only collect vehicle-specific data for payment, charges and enforcement, such as against non-payment of ERP charges. For all other purposes, such as for transport planning and traffic management, only aggregated and anonymised data will be collected. LTA has informed that necessary safeguards are in place to prevent unauthorised access to personal data from Electronic Road Pricing.

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Read More: Retrofit of ERP 2.0 OBU in your car to replace its IU - FAQs by the motorist

Read More: The Motorist Guide to ERP 2.0 in Singapore

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1 Comment

Kips Lum
Who pay for the new OBU if the touch screen is faulty???

about 1 month ago