MELBOURNE, FL – Melbourne’s city council is planning to expand the use of passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID system after a successful 12-month trial tracking fleet vehicles from its corporate parking lot.

The council now wants to integrate vehicle RFID data with existing staff identification information, which is captured when employees use their RFID cards each time they enter or exit the parking lot. Once the two data sources are linked, the council will have a fully automated asset-management system, according to RFID Journal.

For the past year, the council, responsible for the city’s administration, has been testing the technology’s ability to track vehicles as they enter and leave the parking lot to provide automated, accurate data regarding the movement of its vehicles. The system will replace the existing process of manually logging the fleet and its movements, which has been both time-consuming and inefficient.

Accurate data collection is essential, because different departments within the council are charged separate rates depending on the vehicle used. The collection of vehicle usage data has been very labor-intensive until now, with daily usage sheets completed by the council staff each time a vehicle was used, and completed daily sheets manually entered into the fleet database to meet legislative and operational requirements.

Gamma Solutions, a supplier of data-collection hardware and software, was tasked with replacing the inefficient, time-consuming manual process with one that is automated. The company installed an RFID system, including passive 920 MHz RFID tags that comply with the EPC Gen 2 standard, as well as two portals containing Intermec IF5 fixed RFID readers. A tag is attached to a vehicle’s dashboard, and the interrogator reads that tag and transmits its data, using a standard PC via Ethernet, to a database of vehicles logged each day, before bespoke software provides the information in a spreadsheet.

A significant amount of testing was conducted to ensure the RFID system would capture the vehicle data accurately. The next step is to integrate vehicle usage data with employee identification information derived from the RFID access cards council employees use to enter and exit buildings and the council parking lot. Ultimately, tags within the vehicles could be utilized to open security gates at the parking lot automatically.