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RFID for WHAT? 101 Innovative Ways to Use Radio Frequency Identification—Part 4: On the Move

Traveling for business and pleasure.
By John Edwards
Aug 01, 2011Presented below is part four of an 11-part series examining the use of radio frequency identification for unexpected applications. In this chapter, we consider RFID's use in the world of transportation.

27. Park It Here
San Francisco deployed a network of active wireless sensors that detect where and when cars are parked. It helps the city determine when parking usage is greatest, decide if higher fees might be appropriate and discern where and when drivers fail to feed the meters—and an application for mobile phones helps drivers find available spots. (See SF Uses Wireless Sensors to Help Manage Parking.)

28. Recharging Electric Cars
Coulomb Technologies is installing networked stations that drivers of electric vehicles can use to charge up their cars' batteries. To get the power flowing, drivers—who subscribe for either pay-as-you-go or monthly unlimited access to the stations—use RFID-based ID cards or key fobs. (See RFID Is the Key to Electric Vehicle Recharging Stations.)

29. Faster Airline Check-In
Quantas' frequent fliers can use RFID-enabled loyalty cards to check in themselves and their luggage; the card also serves as a permanent boarding pass. Air New Zealand provides frequent fliers with a reusable RFID-enabled ePass that can be attached to their mobile phones, to check baggage, access passenger lounges and board planes without paper documents. Other airlines are piloting check-in programs that rely on mobile phones equipped with Near-Field Communication technology. (See Qantas Launches Its Next Generation Check-in System, Air New Zealand Readies for RFID-Enabled Boarding Passes and RFID Makes Check-in Faster for Air France Passengers.)

30. Access for the Blind
By 2013, national and European Union regulations require that public transit operators across Europe provide more information for blind and visually impaired riders. A Swiss public transport agency introduced an RFID-based system that lets blind riders check transit information at bus stops, as well as determine the destination of passing buses and flag them down. Riders use an RFID-enabled device to communicate with tagged buses and signs. (See Swiss Town Rolls Out RFID System for Blind Bus Riders.)
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