I am working on a utility pole tracking project. I’ve read about using RFID tags, but my project requires that the tags be hidden. Is there an integrated tracking system available that uses active RFID tags—hopefully powered by solar batteries?
Solar-powered tags are quite large so they can support photovoltaic cells, which means they cannot be hidden. If the photovoltaic cells are hidden, they won’t receive any sunlight and thus will not have any power.
Several companies have used passive UHF RFID to track utility poles. Cox Industries began attaching passive UHF tags to poles for customers in 2011 (see RFID Tracks Wooden Utility Poles at the Factory and in the Field). Westar Energy, meanwhile, has adopted an automated system that employs RFID to track its pole and transformer inventory (see Westar Energy Tracks Power Poles, Transformers With RFID).
Passive UHF RFID tags can be read from a distance of 20 feet or so, so companies can use them to monitor their inventory levels. Trucks with readers can also drive around taking inventory counts, or use Electronic Product Codes to identify specific poles that need to be serviced.
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
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