The tachograph concept, which was introduced in 1953 became compulsory in Europe from 1986.
The tachograph system is based on a PKI, which is the only real European project guaranteeing interoperability within the countries of the AETR (European Agreement concerning the Work of Crews of Vehicles Engaged in International Road Transport). The tachograph, a recording device in road transport vehicles, uses a smart card with an embedded microchip: the “driver’s card”, which electronically records driving information: speed, driving time, etc. This device has enabled road safety to be significantly increased, by drastically reducing fraud linked to excess driving time and speeding.
Driving licenses are also undergoing major change and the European directive of 2006 makes the polycarbonate "credit card" format compulsory for countries in the European Union from 2013. For the moment, making this document electronic is optional. Some countries, including France, are nevertheless moving towards deploying an electronic driving license, to enable the automated reading of the document, and additional services for police forces.
Gemalto also welcomes the agreement reached by EU instances in 2013 to update the 1985 tachograph regulation (3821/1985), and we are working with the European Commission to develop the new specifications of the driver’s card, upgrading both security and privacy requirements.
Other changes to the tachograph are being studied, with a proposal for a directive on convergence between the driving license and tachograph by 2018. This merging of documents should enable fraud to be reduced even further, by combining the data from the tachograph and driving licenses.
The system would offer a number of benefits for both drivers and governments, such as authentication and signatures over the internet, a true electronic identity, making communication more secure, and paving the way for e-government initiatives in countries which do not have electronic national identity cards.
Through its vast experience in this field – ten tachograph deployments and five driving license projects underway (the UK and France have just chosen Gemalto for the renewal of their documents) – Gemalto can contribute to this major project, paving the way for interoperable European identification.