Cutting Edge RFID Applications: Drone RFID Readers!

Someone once said that true innovation is about taking two things that already exist and putting them together in a new way. The RFID solutions company ADASA Inc. is doing just that.

They are developing an RFID system that includes drones — unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVS) controlled by ‘pilots’ on the ground or autonomously following a pre-programmed mission — outfitted with RFID readers and a number of attached antennas.

Why Drones?

Drones have been capturing a lot of attention lately as vendors such as Amazon are exploring their use as an automated aerial delivery system.

RFID technology is used to identify objects and important assets that have RFID tags attached to them and is now a common way for performing inventory and tracking assets.

Drone Utilization

In one use case, the RFID-equipped drone will fly about inside a building reading every product that has an attached RFID tag. The drone will create an inventory of the shelves or hangers and provide a list of what products are currently in the store or warehouse. The data of the tags that are read is sent to a database for storage, tracking, and analysis.

In developing this system, ADASA is partnering with Panoptes, a company in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that provides automatic navigation, collision avoidance, and safe indoor flight technology. These drones include sonar technology used to avoid collisions with people and objects. They do not need to employ a video camera and this helps in keeping the cost of the drone down.

The main problem that the drone system addresses is that typically the model for fixed RFID readers has the tagged assets move past the reader. Consequently, fixed readers do not do as good job of tracking inventory in the store. Handheld readers are mobile and can be used to move about to collect the inventory, but this method requires store personnel to go out on the store floor to perform the inventory.

RFID and Drones Working in Harmony

By marrying drones with RFID technology, this new ADASA RFID drone system may present a solution that is the best of both approaches. Do you think this new approach will meet any of your current problems that require an RFID-based solution for inventory or asset tracking?

See the ADASA web site for the latest details:

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