RFID- Its technology and future developments

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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2 thoughts on “RFID- Its technology and future developments

  1. Rafael Gabrieli

    As seen in the article, RFID technology has done nothing but improve society since its initial appearance. I do believe, however, that RFID has some reliability issues with handguns that use RFID. They take a fairly long time to fire and law enforcement officials would be at a disadvantage versus a criminal with a regular handgun. The gun proposed in the article that is being developed in California would need a watch at all times in order to activate the gun. That alone is time that a law enforcement official can not afford to waste. When it comes to a shootout, time is of the essence for these types of situations. Obviously these guns are very smart, however, people who want to use guns don’t want their guns to be smart, they want to the guns to be accurate and effective. The gun works by identifying the shooter by through logistics, such as, fingerprints, muscle strength, and nerves. Although the concept is great, and in a perfect world it would be a perfect use for RFID technology, in terms of handguns, it is definitely a con. I consider the EZ-PASS system that uses RFID to be one of the greatest technological advancements of the 21st century. This use for RFID greatly reduced traffic time and as a commuter on the highway various times per day I am highly grateful for EZ-PASS.
    As RFID technology advances, it is obvious to see that society greatly benefits with each improvement and technological advancement that takes place. The place that I expect RFID technology to move into next is maybe sound systems. I am not 100% sure of the next new innovation but I expect new sound stereo equipment to utilize RGIF. There is also the rumor going around that the United States Government is thinking about implanting an RFID chip on each member of its society. I am not sure as to the truth of this matter but it is something that is very do-able for our government in order to keep track of the whereabouts of each citizen. As we have seen with the NSA scandal, our government is very interested in keeping track of the activities of its members of society.
    In my opinion, the future is bright for RFID technology. As we have seen, it has no bounds. It can cross over to any industry at any point in time. All it takes is for a new inventor to have a new idea and it will be worked on and developed in the upcoming years. I would not be surprised to find out that RFID technology is being used throughout the Armed Forces of the USA. I figure that a technology as useful as RFID could be used in all aspects of society.

  2. Miles N

    Radio Frequency Identification Technology (RFID) is something that twenty years ago was just a dream. But this dream has become a reality. People do not realize how many aspects of their lives have RFID chips involved, things such as airports, trains, and even your ez-pass all use RFID’s. “RFID- It’s Technology and Future Development” by Collin Bailey talks about the idea of gun control and how RFID’s can play a role in making guns safer than what they are now. The article talks about how guns can have RFID’s incorporated into their design to make them safer to people. The idea is that you can have a finger print sensor on the gun which when you grip it, it will only unlock for the person whose finger is programmed into it. Another idea being tested is at the New Jersey Institute of Technology where they are trying to develop a gun that will only work for the owner by picking up key things they do such as how they grip the gun and how they pull the trigger. Mr. Bailey talks about one example in particular, “22 LR caliber 10 round pistol”, this pistol uses a watch that with a pin number that will become active and be allowed to fire. Without the watch this gun is about as useful as a paperweight but when it is paired with the watch the user has every ability to use the gun. Some gun advocates feel that this is a little to much though. Many people who own guns use them for home protection. They feel that if they need to put on a watch just to use their gun that in a split second situation this could be the difference between life and death. They also raised the idea that if someone if breaking into your home and another family members grabs the gun before the “registered” user can get to it that the gun not working because it does not recognize the person holding could also be the difference between life and death. Another example of RFID’s Mr. Bailey talked about were ez-passes. Ez- pass revolutionized how tolls are paid and helps to cut down the amount of time people sit in traffic. An ez- pass allows you to driver through a toll at a decent speed, while passing through the toll plaza the RFID in your ez- pass is scanned and you are charged accordingly. This has helped to decrease the amount of travel time and traffic that is experienced on major highways.
    As Collin mentions, that “RFID has not been limited to these industries it has shown to change the framework of traditional methods for these industries” these new innovations continue to change the way the world operates and make it a safer place to live. RFID’s have done everything from help people get where they are going quicker, to helping major companies track their shipments and keep better track of them. The world continues to change and RFID’s are helping the world become a better place.


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