Would an RFID Reader Detect a Tag on a Large UAV?

By RFID Journal

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Ask The ExpertsWould an RFID Reader Detect a Tag on a Large UAV?
RFID Journal Staff asked 8 years ago

I am researching the feasibility of adding an RFID tag to an unmanned aerial vehicle and then tracking it. Is there an RFID reader capable of reading tags from a distance of more than 1,000 meters (3,280 feet)?

—Name withheld


Active RFID tags have a battery and can broadcast a signal, so they have a longer read range than passive tags, which obtain energy from a reader. Iotera has developed a long-range tag that can go up to 4 miles (see Iotera Develops Active RFID Tag With 4-Mile Read Range). That's about the longest I know of. Most are in the 100-meter (328-foot) range. Identec Solutions offers a tag with a 500-meter (1,640-foot) read range. You could contact them and ask if there is a way to extend that range.

There are many passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) reader modules on the market that could be installed on an unmanned aerial vehicle. You would need to power such a device with a battery, though, and the read range would depend on the power output. If you opted to emit more energy, the battery would drain faster. But a read range of 15 to 20 feet should not be a problem.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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