Installation of next-generation ERP units delayed to 2023 due to global microchip shortage
SINGAPORE: Installation of on-board units (OBU) for the new Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) system has been delayed due to the shortage of microchips, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) on Wednesday (Nov 17).
The units were originally slated to be installed in vehicles starting from the end of 2020. It was delayed to the end of 2021 after the COVID-19 pandemic affected global supply chains. Installation will now begin in the second half of 2023.
The new units will be used when Singapore switches to the next-generation ERP system that is satellite-based, replacing the current physical gantry-based system which is more than 20 years old.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has boosted global demand for microchips while affecting their production, following the suspension of operations in major semiconductor foundries across multiple countries,” said LTA in a joint press release with NCS and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Asia Pacific, which are developing the new ERP system.
“This has severely impacted the production of electronic devices across multiple sectors, from consumer electronics to industrial machines and automotive.”
The production of the vehicle on-board units has been similarly affected, said LTA. Parts are sourced from different suppliers and a few have indicated that they have been unable to meet the required delivery schedules for critical components.
The microchip shortage is expected to persist through next year, the agency said, adding that production is expected to recover gradually between end-2022 and mid-2023.
"Our priority is to make sure that OBU installation exercise – when it starts – should progress smoothly for motorists, so we don't want to start and to stop," said LTA CEO Ng Lang.
"For this reason, we decided not to rush but to wait a while for the global chip supply situation to stabilise ... we will probably not start the OBU installation process until the second half of 2023."
Mr Ng said LTA is working with its partners to resolve the production challenges brought on by the pandemic.
He assured motorists and the motor vehicle industry that "ample notice" will be given ahead of the installation exercise.
Other than providing information on ERP charging locations and rates, the new on-board units will provide additional information such as real-time road traffic updates, as well as locations of nearby school zones and silver zones, LTA previously said.
The first unit will be installed free for existing Singapore-registered vehicles.
LTA said it will continue to monitor the pandemic's impact on the installation timeline. The current ERP system will continue to operate until the new system is implemented.