Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
RFID (or Radio Frequency Identification) is a versatile tool in the vehicle telematics industry as it allows data to be passed from one place to another. The system passes information from a tag to a reader and has many uses in vehicle telematics from identifying a driver to taking the temperature inside a trailer, or even tracking trailers in a yard.
There are two types of RFID tags, active and passive. Passive tags allow a reader to identify a tag when it moves into the reader’s electromagnetic field; it doesn’t have a battery so cannot transmit any data to the reader.
However, Trakm8’s RFID tags are active (they have a battery in them) which allows them to send various types of data to the T8 or T8 Mini unit. This allows Trakm8 to put RFID to many different uses, including
The RFID tags house a large amount of technology in such a small size – they are smaller than the size of a credit card (but thicker) – including a battery and transmitter. The tags have a life expectancy of three years if they send data every 60 seconds.
RFID allows drivers to be identified as they walk up to their vehicle. The vehicle recognises the correct tag and allows the vehicle to be started. If the driver ID tag is not recognised by the unit, then it does not allow the vehicle to start.
The RFID system is very clever as users can define which driver ID tag the vehicle will recognise, allowing the correct driver to drive the correct vehicle. This tag has a dual purpose as it prevents any unauthorised vehicle use and helps to prevent theft.
Trakm8’s active RFID tags relay a trailer’s temperature to the tracking unit every 60 seconds. Customers can view the temperature on the user friendly SWIFT web portal. At the same time as sending the temperature, it also sends the tag ID and shows how long the battery will last.
The unit is fixed in the trailer in a protective casing and sends data back to the unit in the cab. The tag doesn’t take up any space in the trailer as it is so small, so doesn’t impact load capacities. Tags have a resilient hard plastic coating, allowing them to operate in temperatures ranging from -30⁰C to +60⁰C, and still be accurate to within 1⁰C.
Asset monitoring is the biggest growth area for RFID as there are many different opportunities for using the technology to track assets.
For example, trailers can be monitored when they are in the yard. Drivers of lorries are able to see which trailer is theirs and attach themselves to it. Due to the complexities of RFID every tag will be shown to the unit. However, with some clever tweaking of the frequency, the lorry is able to narrow the search down to identify which trailer it needs to attach to.
Another use for asset monitoring is to prevent theft as the tag can be attached to moveable objects on lorries or in the yard. An alert is set off should they be moved out of the area without authorisation.
RFID tags can also be used to monitor the security of trailers or even caravans. By attaching the tag to the asset, an alert can be created if it is removed from the vehicle and moves out of the range of the unit.