Logan Airport to Demonstrate Baggage, Passenger RFID Tracking

Updated: The airport will test chipless RFID tags and a tracking system that monitor passengers and their baggage through to their final destination.

Bostons Logan International Airport has agreed to allow a pilot project funded by Boston Engineering and Inkode Corp. to demonstrate chipless RFID technology that tracks customers and their baggage from arrival to final destination.

Boston Engineering will utilize Vienna, Va.-based Inkodes CRIS (Chipless Remote Identification System) technology as the basis for the pilot program.

Dubbed SEATS, or Secure Environment for Airport Terminal Systems, the project is actually a collaboration that combines Inkodes passive, disposable wireless tracking device with a baggage tracking system developed by Boston Engineering.

The tracking system being developed by Boston Engineering tracks a passenger from the time they arrive at the airport and check into a self-service boarding pass kiosk, to the time they board an airplane (given that one doesnt generally deplane during flight, its assumed the systems tracks an individual through to their final destination).

Baggage, tagged with the chipless RFID sticker, is simultaneously tagged.

The flow of information goes something like this, according to a press release from Boston Engineering: Once a traveler checks into the airlines using Boston Engineerings self-service boarding kiosk, hardware scans that persons ID, takes their photo and verifies a "passenger profile."

An integrated boarding pass kiosk and bag accepter again scans the travelers ID and takes a photo that is printed on baggage tags. An agent check-in and bag accepter scans the photo ID and verifies the bag tags, and an in-line bag-conveyer reader with ramp loader and reader track the bag through the system.

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read about how RFIDs high cost deters businesses.

Finally, a gate boarding pass reader confirms the passenger has boarded.

Because the system is based on chipless RFID technology, its said to be able to withstand exposure to the static electricity thats generated by huge luggage conveyers and baggage scanning systems found in airports, according to Boston Engineerings COO Mark Smithers.

The tags are also reported to have a read range beyond the standard 10 meters for other airport tracking systems being considered.

Boston Engineering has bigger plans outside of the airline industry. Its developing other RFID-based systems for retail and other industries that utilize security measures.

Editors Note: This story was updated to clarify information about Logan Airports RFID pilot project.

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