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RFID-based Automotive Network Project Achieves Its Goals

Some project partners, including Bosch, plan to take the results of the RAN project into the operational phase.
By Rhea Wessel
Dec 21, 2012The RFID-based Automotive Network (RAN), a three-year, federally funded research project focused on the use of radio frequency identification within Germany's automotive industry, came to a close this month. The partners announced that they met their goal of standardizing event-based data exchange across participating companies, using data repositories based on the Electronic Product Code Information Services (EPCIS) standard.

The RFID-based Automotive Network's partners also announced that they will continue to cooperate on various RFID projects from RAN. These projects will be taken into operation at several participating companies.

Bosch's Andreas Müller
The RAN project commenced on Jan. 1, 2010 (see Germany's RFID-based Automotive Network Gets Rolling), and was supported by the nation's Federal Ministry for Economics and Technology, to develop methods, approaches and standards for process controls within the automotive industry. The focus was on tagging containers and products with RFID, in order to enable every partner involved in automotive production or logistics to access the information it requires in real time, from a data repository known as Infobroker.

The participating car manufacturers included BMW, which deployed RFID to monitor containers as they moved between the automaker's facilities and suppliers along the production chain, and Daimler, which tagged production containers to track them between two countries. Daimler also installed real-time location system (RTLS) hardware and passive EPC tags across one of its factory's quality-assurance areas (see Daimler Sees Potential Benefits of Using RFID to Track Quality-Control).

The German government contributed €23 million ($30.3 million) to the research project. The overall budget totaled €46 million ($60.6 million), including the funding invested by the participants.

This month, at the project's closing meeting, partners promised to work together to build more RFID-based standards in the automotive industry via the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), Odette International Ltd. and the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA). Separately, VDA founded an RFID expert's circle that will work to integrate the RAN project's results into VDA's process recommendations, which are designed to lead to standards. VDA was not a partner in RAN, but observed the project, according to Matthias Kauffmann, a manager who supported RAN at the project office. Kauffmann works for the Ingenics technical consultancy, in Ulm.

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