RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Technology) is a technology that is not only used in disruptive technology but will only enable the technology to evolve and expand into other sectors! According to engineering.com RFID technology is found in several aspects within the transportation industry. In the trucking industry the CRESCENT program on the west coast allowed trucks to bypass weigh stations by using a weigh in motion system. The program has now been applied to more than 30 states that utilize a common RFID tag in order for trucks not to have a different tag for each weigh in system.
Airports have also implemented this technology in their tracking of excess parking in arrival/departure areas. Airports have discovered that they can utilize RFID toll tags to keep track of individual parking times much to the expense of the jobs at exit booths. This technology has also found its way into the rail industry as well. One of the major problems that interstate railroads face is knowing which trains belong to which company at any given time. This means that a train could switch cars in a different state and the company of that train would not know for weeks, months, or even years. A potential solution to this problem came in the 1980s with the introduction of RFID tags one on either side of the train. The problem with these tags was that many could not withstand the extreme temperature of the cargo they were carrying. Other developments such as trailer tracking and container tracking have been looked into but never implemented as the RFID tag process was eventually hauled.
One of the most common aspects of RFID in public transportation are tolls. Companies such as EZ-Pass present RFID technology as an alternative for customers to traditional cash payments. One of the biggest challenges for this technology has been the acceptance of multiple tag protocols with each vendor unwilling to release their implementation secrets. This problem came to a head when tolls in the northeast began to see the value in RFID technology for congestion at tunnels, bridges, and toll roads as thousands used traveled through each form of infrastructure daily. The solution was a common protocol for all vendors to license their RFID technology. Some chose to license their protocols with other vendors while others chose to develop dual protocol tags to be used within multiple applications.
RFID technology has also been proposed for guns ushering in a new era for smart gun technology. This technology already available in other countries has been introduced to California by Armatix of Munich, Germany. This 22 LR caliber 10 round pistol uses a target response system only allows the gun to fire when the user has fired it on a recognized target. The pistol is also paired with a iw1 active RFID watch which is a PIN activated wristwatch that communicates with the gun to arm it for firing. Without the watch, the gun cannot be fired. Smart guns are also developed by Triggersmart headquartered in County Limerick Ireland. Their gun also uses a RFID tag similar to Armatix that will not fire unless it is in the hands of an authorized user.
For the transportation industry RFID has proven to be a key player. It has allowed for faster interstate transportation with programs such as CRESCENT and EZ-Pass for tolls. The airline and train industries have also began utilizing this technology with varying success. As RFID has continued to evolve the transportation industry it has expanded into other products such as smart gun technology. While RFID has not been limited to these industries it has shown to change the framework of traditional methods for these industries. Some question to consider as this technology evolves are the following: Who benefits and does not as a result? What other everyday products will RFID eventually infiltrate?
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