A user's guide to self-driving cars
How will self driving cars change access control in gated communities?

Technological advances in the self driving cars market raise some questions for residents of gated communities. How to get inside the gate presents concerns for residents who need solutions to a potentially vexing problem. While you cannot buy one just yet, many automakers intend to produce them within a few years. Most gated community access control systems share a common denominator that requires someone to do something. Some gate access systems may need a driver to click a remote control, press a passcode on a callbox or use a smartphone to enter a gate. Makers of access control systems have plans for alternative methods that may make authorized entry easier than ever.

Anticipating the Change
The development of autonomous vehicles has reached the stage between cars with no self-driving technology and those that need no input from you as a driver. Current testing on self-driving vehicles that require attention provides a basis for advancing toward models that allow drivers to intervene as a matter of choice. The next step includes cars that rely on programmed instruction instead of human input but provide access to controls, and the ultimate goal produces a vehicle that needs nothing from a driver. A surprising number of people choose the security of living in a protected environment, and many do not own their homes. Statistics show that three times as many renters prefer controlled entry locations, and almost as many want to live in a community with a wall or a fence around it.

Meeting the Challenge with Technology
While the tradition of gate security conjures up an image of a physical guard at a gate, the system slowly gave way to entry with electronic devices. Software replaced hardware and introduced keypads that required a code, but the cumbersome system demonstrated a need for a better way. Entry tags and sensors removed the inconveniences of the keypad system, and the availability of mobile devices with apps further simplify and secure the entry process.

Reading License Plates Automatically
With Virtual Gate Guard, Envera offers a gate security system that captures license plate images and records them for subsequent requests to enter. As a resident, you can register at the web portal or use a smartphone app, and registration may include temporary residents, one-time guests and permanent residents. The efficient feature reduces the frustration of waiting at an entrance, and it provides safety and keeps track of all visitors who enter a property. With Optical Character Recognition, the Envira system captures the license plate images of unregistered visitors. It cross-references them to a list of vehicles that have permission to enter the community. The recognition gives authorization that allows the gate to automatically open, but cars with unverified license plates cannot continue.

The company provides a licensed gate guard to speak to your guests at the gate kiosk when the system does not recognize a license plate. After obtaining proper identification of the driver and you as the host, the guard requests your approval or denial of entry for the visitor. While few companies compete in the market, Dwelling Live acquired the Visitor Management Software Division of InterAccess Systems. An innovative approach to license plate recognition accompanies the company’s other visitor management software products.

Reading RFID Tags
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) may have some advantages in reading license plates over BAi Laser Barcode Readers, but it may have some disadvantages as well. RFID does not need the line of sight capability that BAi requires. Without it, the technology can process thousands of images simultaneously, a function that improves efficiency in warehousing or freight handling. However, it does not pertain to your need for gated community access control. Some experts regard the calibration of an RFID antenna to focus only on a single target vehicle as much too difficult.

Downsides to using RFID include its susceptibility to hacking and athermic glass windshields that do not let heat enter the interior of a vehicle. Barcode Readers can affix to the exterior and avoid window treatments that can deter functionality. While some people think that barcodes offer easy duplication, experts refute the assumption. BAi Readers reject copied barcodes that contain standard open barcode symbols but accept images that real laser technology produces.

Barcode offers a more reliable system of identification that allows 100 percent accuracy instead of the estimated 95 percent for RFID. For access systems where safety presents the paramount concern of residents, BAi decals and readers provide a more trustworthy and long-term option. A 25-ft distance between a vehicle’s decal and the Reader provides optimal recognition capability. The company notes that entrances without setbacks may not offer the best installation location for the BAi system.

Using Internet-based Access Control
Advanced technology by Nevada-based Nimbio offers an access control system that converts an ordinary gate into a smart one that responds to instructions from your smartphone. It lets you use it remotely from any location by operating over the internet with the Nimbio app, and it works whether or not you have Wi-Fi or ethernet access at the gate. Each device includes a cellular modem that maintains a reliable internet connection, and it continues to work even in damaged call boxes if the gate operator functions properly. A safe technology that allows you to create as many keys as you want, it lets you share them with family members and friends by email, text/SMS or any way that you prefer.

Gated communities do not face a cost increase for the installation of a gate that uses Nimbio technology. The system works compatibly with your existing gate system and allows passcodes, fobs and clickers to continue to work. With its Elliptic-curve cryptography, the system ensures the security and encryptions of all connections. You can manage guest access by tapping a few keys on your phone and never worry about sharing your four-digit access code again.

Benefiting from Technological Advances
The evolution of self driving cars may make them available sooner than one may think. Advancing by great strides from the need to have a driver behind the wheel to never needing one creates changes in areas where people live. Gated community residents can expect access control companies to meet the challenge of creating alternative gated community access control systems. Reduced chances of theft, vandalism and unauthorized entry contribute to the safety and security of gated communities.

Open your gate or building with your phone