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Zoomius Takes Motorsports Timing on a New Course

The Northern Californian startup company is one of several that have recently launched race-timing solutions involving passive RFID EPC Gen 2 tags and interrogators.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Oct 07, 2008A Northern California company known as Zoomius has joined the growing ranks of race-timing companies offering RFID-based solutions that employ passive RFID EPC Gen 2 tags and readers. At a late August motorcycle race held at the Reno-Fernley Raceway, hosted by Zoom Zoom Events Corp. (Z2), and sanctioned by the United States Grand Prix Racers Union, Zoomius road-tested its Titan RFID timing system, which it says was a winner.

The system utilizes passive RFID adhesive labels containing the M inlay (ALN-9554) manufactured by Alien Technology, as well as the Mercury 5e reader from ThingMagic. According to Keane, the reader feeds the tag data to Zoomius' Tiger software, which uses a proprietary method to determine the speed and location of each vehicle as it approaches and passes a read zone.

Zoomius' system uses passive RFID adhesive labels, shown here to the right of the number 106.

"We were extremely impressed," says David Ben-Jamin, chief operating officer of Zoom Zoom Events Corp. "We've used the other, transponder-based system in other races, but with Zoomius we found higher accuracy rates." Z2 plans to use the Zoomius system again in the future, Ben-Jamin says, noting that because the system is so new, it will need to be continually vetted. "It's not totally plug-and-play yet, but we think that [passive] RFID is the future [of motorsports timing]."

During initial tests, Ben-Jamin says, he and Keane's team needed to be careful regarding how they mounted the tags on the motorcycle fairings. "We had to have it oriented a certain way," he explains, "but by the end of the day, when we timed a 250-kilometer endurance race, we read each tag on each lap, and the race lasted two and a half hours."

Zoomius' prime target customers are race organizers offering "track days"—organized events in which members of the public can access motor racing facilities and try their hand at the course, either on motorbikes or in cars. But the company also serves racing schools and racing circuits. The Tiger software provides online registration and information management systems for applications. This data management tool can be employed by track day organizers to maintain a record of lap times, split times, overall times and team statistics for their clients.

Many vehicular race organizers currently utilize active RFID tracking systems to track vehicles' performance on the course, Keane says, adding that AMB is the largest vendor of such systems. The systems are powered by battery, or by pulling energy from a car using a 12-volt charging system. But these active transponders are significantly more costly than passive RFID tags—which Zoomius offers its customers for 40 cents each.

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