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RFID Automates Payments at Regina's Snow Dump

The Canadian city's system depends on UHF RFID tags and readers to identify arriving trucks, authorize their admittance and automatically bill customers.
By Claire Swedberg

At the entrance gate to the snow storage site, Reliable installed a Feig Electronics LRU 1002 reader with a circular-polarized ruggedized Times-7 A5010 antenna suspended overhead. The RFID labels come in four different colors that signify a truck's size and type, such as blue for a ¼-ton or ½-ton vehicle without a trailer, and yellow for a semi-truck. Cameras are used to identify the truck and confirm that it is the proper vehicle for that particular tag. The system, Kyle says, "reads your card, tracks the vehicle ID, knows you came through with a load of snow, and bills you for it."

Drivers are currently in the process of acquiring the RFID labels, which cost $10 apiece. The unique ID number encoded to each tag's memory is linked to data regarding the company that owns that vehicle, as well as its license plate and size. This information is stored in the Lenel software.

The adhesive RFID labels come in four different colors that signify a truck's size and type, and are affixed to vehicles' windshields.
With the first snow event this winter, drivers will begin bringing loads to the storage site. When a truck reaches the gate, a motion sensor detects its arrival; if no vehicle is ahead of it (as detected by the RFID reader), a traffic light installed beside the reader turns green, allowing the driver to proceed. If another truck is ahead of it, however—within range of the RFID reader—the light will remain red until that vehicle has passed.

When the driver comes within range of the reader's antenna, the device captures the unique ID number encoded to that vehicle's tag. The reader forwards that data, via a wired connection with a Wiegand interface, to the Lenel software, which confirms that the truck is authorized to enter the lot. As the truck proceeds, a Mobotix M15 camera photographs the passing vehicle and measures its size. Beyond the gate is a second traffic light with an arrow indicating the direction the truck should follow to dump the snow load, assuming the tag ID is approved and matches the size of the entering vehicle. If the truck does not have an approved tag appropriate for its size, the arrow points in the opposite direction, toward the exit, explains Marvin Skinner, Reliable's division manager.

The system includes a photo-electric sensor that detects a beam of light transmitted across the road leading to the dumping area. In the event that a truck has been denied entrance but crosses that beam anyway, the solution determines that an unapproved dump is about to take place. Another camera onsite captures the vehicle's license plate number and records video footage of its actions, so that the driver can be contacted.

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