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Embedded Linux powers Paris airport parking payment system

Mar 31, 2004 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 12 views

Thales Group used embedded Linux to minimize hardware resources and maximize functionality in its new parking lot fare collection system, it says. The “Largo WiLi” system has operated successfully at Paris Orly airport since May 2003, and at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport since November 2003.

(Click for larger view of Largo WiLi terminal)

Thales claims to be the leader in secure public car park systems in France. The company says its Largo WiLi entry/exit terminals and automatic payment machines increase data processing speed, offer better resistance to vandalism and environmental conditions, and offer users a more intuitive interface, all while requiring fewer hardware resources than its previous DOS-based system.

Largo WiLi terminals are based on National Geode x86 processors (National subsequently sold Geode to AMD), and use CompactFlash memory technology, Ethernet networking, and other standard embedded PC structures, according to Thales. The terminals can be integrated with existing computer systems, can process several different payment options, and provide remote management capabilities.

“We were using an in-house proprietary RTOS, based on DOS, and wanted to scale to a smaller-sized embedded operating system while retaining all existing functionalities,” says Thales Chairman Jean-Louis Olie. “With MontaVista Linux, we were able to have a modern OS and integrate new functions, without requiring memory extensions or a larger processor.”

MontaVista Sales Director Stephane Deruelle said, “For this high-performance electronic fare collection solution from Thales, the ability of MontaVista Linux to scale to a smaller footprint was key.”

Parking system vendors Cale and Digital Pioneer have also used embedded Linux in their current system designs.

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