Pool Taximeter for blind disabled persons
The combined usage of microprocessor and FPGA technologies allow to build up a new concept taximeter with greatly enhanced features. Return of investment is expected higher than 7 times in 5 years
Technologies used

Microcontroller, FPGA

Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    34 Parts and accessories for vehicles

A.C.M.E. is an Italian SME, employing 23 persons with a turnover of 1,6 Meuro, that produces electromechanical taximeters for public transport cars (taxies) and electromechanical controllers for elevators. The taximeter market is limited to the Italian market with a share of about 15% of installed products.

At the start of the Application Experiment, the production of electromechanical taximeters was rapidly decreasing due to the saturation of the market (each car had its taximeter and this market is not subject to the requests of new and improved products as the consumer goods) and to the limitation to taxi licences imposed by the municipalities.

The lack of innovative and up-to-dated products was bringing A.C.M.E. out of competition and dramatically increasing the risk of employment reduction in the taximeter sector.

To overcome the above-mentioned risks, A.C.M.E. succeeded to exploit a new law issued by the Italian parliament that authorises the creation of a new service called "pool taxi". The idea behind the pool taxi is that the same public car can be used by more than a single passenger, to encourage the use of public transport by reducing the costs.

The designed new pool taximeter is a taximeter that includes all the functionalities of a standard taximeter and offers the following innovative characteristics:

  1. to inform the passengers of the evolution of the price with a vocal synthesiser for disabled peoples;
  2. the capability of the central unit to handle the different tariffs for each passenger of the pool taxi;
  3. to display the destination on a LED panel on the taxi's roof;
  4. to accept smartcards and credit cards.

The experience in electronics of ACME personnel is just relays and spare digital circuits (74XX) mounted on a PCB. The technology acquired through the design of the pool taximeter is micro-controllers and simple FPGA.
The Application Experiment has had the following competitive strengths:

  • duration of 10 months;
  • Costs sustained for design and prototyping of the new taximeter: 65 KEuro
  • time-to-market of 15 months;
  • product lifetime of 5 years;
  • payback of the investment in a 9 months timeframe from the launch of the product
  • ROI over product lifetime of more than 30 times

A.C.M.E. S.r.l.
Via G.Ratto 17 R/h
16157 Genoa Italy

Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

Microcontroller and FPGA technology provided A.C.M.E. S.r.l. with the means of improving its products and enhancing its market position. You can also achieve significant benefits by acquiring the right microelectronics technology and utilising it in your product or manufacturing process. You can get help from FUSE to realise this.

FUSE is a technology transfer programme, funded by the European Commission to stimulate the wider use of microelectronics technologies by European enterprises to increase their competitiveness and enhance their economic growth. The demonstrator described here is one of many examples in the public FUSE portfolio covering the whole spectrum of microelectronics technologies and spanning a wide range of applications and industry sectors.

FUSE provides you with:

  • Best practice in acquiring specific microelectronics technologies and conducting full development projects through the FUSE portfolio of real life demonstrator documents.
  • Local training and expert support to plan your innovation realistically and help you conduct your project successfully.

Further information and support relating to this and other demonstrators can be obtained from the addresses below.

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For further information and support regarding this case study, please contact a Technology Transfer Node (TTN) in your region.
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