Planes, Trains and Automobiles – How RFID is Transforming Transportation

by Diana Hage

In the transportation industry, accurate and reliable data, and tracking via radio frequency identification (RFID) has a wide variety of business critical applications. Here are some highlights of how RFID is being used in the airline, railroad, and automotive industries for improved efficiency and performance, better safety, and customer satisfaction.

In the Air

Delta has made better baggage handling a top priority. According to the airline, better baggage handling processes and technologies have already reduced mishandling rates by 68 percent over the past 10 years.

But Delta wants to maintain its industry-leading performance. So it has invested $50 million in RFID, which has replaced barcode scanning for tracking the 120 million pieces of baggage it handles annually.

Using RFID scanners, tag printers, and belt loader readers, airlines can enable hands-free and highly accurate scanning and tracking of baggage throughout the handling process. Belt loader sensors will flash green when a bag is being loaded on the correct aircraft or flash red when the bag requires additional handling.

Delta’s agents will also have the ability to take inventory quickly and pinpoint a single bag. If a customer misses a connection, their bag can be retrieved and retagged for a different flight.

RFID also enables app-based baggage tracking. Delta has already created an industry-first baggage tracking app, which allows customers to track the status and location of their baggage, and RFID will enable improved accuracy and transparency. RFID will be integrated for interactive baggage tracking using the Fly Delta mobile app.

On the Rail

RFID is also at the center of innovation in the railroad industry. RFID sensors and tags can be used to ensure the integrity and security of cargo in real-time: tagging and monitoring railcars, containers, and cargo. It can also be used to track and control train locations and positioning, as well as railcar movement and railway conditions.

RFID sensors can detect the position of a passenger train, the length of a platform, how many doors should be opened, and whether it’s safe to open them.

RFID offers a key advantage over optical sensors when it comes to reliability.  Unlike optical sensors which can fail due to dust, dirt, water, or debris obscuring them, RFID relies on the use of radio waves, which ensures reliable remote scanning in demanding environments.

RFID can also improve worker efficiency by providing cargo handling and railcar switching instructions, and it can provide real-time tracking, information, and alerts to enable timely maintenance and monitoring of railcars, equipment, and infrastructure.

On the Road

In the automotive industry, component traceability plays a huge role in quality assurance because it allows components to be tracked to the lot and vehicle level. This enables targeted recalls of affected vehicles so automakers can not only address quality or safety issues before they become a widespread problem, but also avoid the embarrassment and costs of a full-scale recall.

RFID offers greater accuracy and efficiency, particularly because there is no visual line-of-sight required to scan an item and because human error can be eliminated from the process.

RFID is also a perfect way to track and manage vehicles during manufacturing or through any stage of pickup, storage, repair, or delivery. We offer a vehicle tracking and management system which delivers real-time visibility into the location, arrival, departure, and status of all vehicles—making it a great RFID-powered solution for automakers, distributors, and even rental car companies.

Learn More About RFID for Your Business

RFID offers remarkable benefits in real-time tracking, monitoring, and management of everything from manufacturing processes and enterprise assets to inventory, shipments, and deliveries.

At RFID Global, we can help you evaluate the potential of RFID for your business and choose the right technologies to develop affordable and effective solutions.

We partner with Zebra Technologies, the world leader in RFID, to provide systems that boost efficiency, productivity, and profitability with world-class location and tracking capabilities.

Contact us now to learn more and arrange your free consultation. Call 703-648-1550 or email us at sales@rfidgs.com.