Automated transport ticketing system - a university project


A group of us are developing an automated transport ticketing system using smart cards. This is for a University Information System Honours project. One of the components for the project would obviously be to have smart card readers on each transport unit (bus, train, etc.). Unfortunately none of us have any experience with electronics - only high-level application development. I was advised by an electrical engineering student to look into the Fastrack Supreme. I have done some reading into it, but to be honest, I am still very fuzzy on whether this product can solve our problem. I was hoping to gain some insight from members on this board to supplement our feasibility study :slight_smile:.

Basic description on the transport unit device functionality:

  1. On entering the transport unit, commuters swipe their smart card over a card reader.
  2. Card data (Card ID, user ID, available credit…) is then sent to a device where certain checks are undertaken (sufficient credit, security checks, etc).
  3. If all checks are successful, some kind of ‘beep’ or flashing light is performed.
  4. The updated credit is then loaded back onto the card (assume the reader will have the ability to write to cards).
  5. GPS co-ordinates are then obtained.
  6. Data from the card AND the GPS co-ordinates must then be stored (±46 bytes).
  7. At a set interval (e.g. hourly) all the stored data is sent via GPRS to a centralised server. If transfer checks are successful, the data is deleted from the device.

My questions to you:
a) Is the Fastrack Surpeme suited to this application? Fastrack Surpeme-10 or Fastrack Surpeme-20?
b) Would the IO-USB-GPS IESM be best suited?
c) Considering our lack of skills with electronics, but a vast experience with high-level programming, would we have the skills to program the component? (Taking into consideration that we won’t be able to spend copius amounts of time on this)
d) Could the Fastrack Supreme handle our storage needs? For now, I can’t imagine needing more than 1mb. I read that it supplies 32mb of Flash and 8mb of PSRAM - but I’m not sure what these are used for.

Thanks a mil,