BAA and Emirates test Motorola radio solution
Dubai, February 17, 2008
The world’s busiest international airport is evaluating RFID technology to improve baggage tracking, using Motorola radio frequency identification (RFID) readers as part of a joint project between BAA and Emirates Airlines.
In an important trial of RFID tracking technology, BAA, owner and operator of Heathrow Airport, and Emirates Airlines will deploy RFID readers at key points along the journey of luggage belonging to passengers travelling the Emirates Airlines route from Heathrow to Dubai – from check-in desk to carousel.
As part of the trial, Motorola XR480 Fixed RFID readers have been installed in Heathrow Terminal 3 to read tags on luggage entering and leaving the airport. This trial will be an important demonstration of the interoperability of diverse RFID solutions as it will showcase how the Motorola RFID solution integrates with a variety of components from other vendors that have been incorporated into the system outside of the UK, said an official spokesman.
BAA is already a Motorola customer, deploying its Symbol-branded bar code scanners widely throughout Heathrow in established baggage-reconciliation applications. The addition of XR480 RFID readers will give BAA more depth of functionality, as it will allow the company to track baggage during parts of its transport where a clear ‘line of sight’ to a bar code is not possible.
As a result BAA will be able to monitor, sort and locate luggage at every stage of its journey. Furthermore, the EPC Gen2-enabled RFID bag tags allow more data than standard barcode tags, enabling greater functionality in their application.
“We are extremely excited by this project, which will track bags at every stage of their journey and could significantly improve the efficiency of Heathrow’s baggage system, delivering an improved service to both passengers and airlines alike. Upon successful introduction, and in partnership with the airline community, the technology could be extended across the airport, transforming the way airlines handle baggage,” said head of product development at BAA Heathrow Stephen Challis.
“This trial enables us to embrace the latest technology for the benefit of our customers. The volume of baggage processed at the airports is increasing, with more people around the world flying each year. It is important to Emirates that we look at innovation and using new baggage handling and tracking systems, to help give that extra level of reassurance for our customers,” said Emirates vice-president for UK and Ireland Vic Sheppard.
“Motorola’s RFID solutions have already proven their ability to support IATA’s ”Simplifying the Business” initiative for baggage tracking. Motorola’s RFID solution is in operational use at Hong Kong International Airport and McCarran Airport in Las Vegas,” said head of Motorola’s EMEA Industry Solutions Group David Picton.
“By using RFID at both Heathrow and Dubai airports, Emirates Airlines will showcase the global interoperability of RFID-based solutions while obtaining the full benefit of luggage visibility from passenger drop off through passenger pick up,” he added.
BAA staff will also offer customers an additional value-added service as a result of the RFID deployment. Departing passengers will be invited by BAA staff to voluntarily register their mobile telephone details, which will allow them to receive a text message alert on arrival at Heathrow with details of their baggage reclaim belt. – TradeArabia News Service