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RFID system has been widely used in airport trolley

London Heathrow Airport is evaluating the results of a three-month RFID baggage tracking program to ensure that passengers are available and better informed about the number of baggage trolleys at a particular time.


Heathrow Airport is the second busiest airport in the world (its flights to 84 countries). These international flights as well as domestic flights bring a lot of baggage and also create demand for baggage handling. The airport innovation team managing the project found that the technology was able to effectively capture the movement information of the baggage trolley in and out of the baggage area, and they are currently studying how to apply it throughout the airport.


 The baggage trolley operations team at the airport needs to pull the baggage trolley scattered around the airport back into the designated area. At the same time, they also need to pull the faulty baggage back to the assembly site and then send it to a third-party service provider for repair. Sometimes the baggage trolley will be missing.


The airport hopes that this technology will provide visibility into the location of the shopping trolley to anticipate and adjust for high demand times. The commissioning project attached passive UHF tags to the handlebars of approximately 2,000 airport airport luggage trolleys.


The airport tried the system at Terminal 4. In the baggage claim area, five Impinj Speedway x-portal RIFD readers were installed, one for each of the three entrance gates and two exit gates. Each time the marked baggage trolley enters or leaves the baggage claim area, the trolleyd reader will read the tag ID data and forward it to the cloud server. The software on the server will then interpret and manage the data.


During the trial run, the airport will send personnel to count the number of airport luggage trolleys and compare them with RFID data. The researchers found that the reader can effectively read the tag unless the tag is lost.


In some cases, the label will be removed or damaged by the passenger and the label will need to be replaced. Therefore, the team does not always get the exact number of airport luggage trolleys. When the number of trolleys is too small, the team needs to re-purchase the label for replacement.


In the past, the airport estimated that one out of every two passengers would use a baggage trolley. After using the RFID system, they found that the number of baggage users was less than expected. Now, through this 12-week trial run, the airport knows how often the baggage trolley is used and the average time spent.


If the system is deployed in all five terminals, the airport will get more information from it. For example, after the baggage trolley RFID data is associated with the flight information, the airport can divert the baggage trolley to meet passenger needs. When RFID data is tied to weather data, the airport can also choose to place more baggage trolleys on rainy days.


In addition, these data can also increase the intelligence of the repair process. For example, when a particular baggage trolley is frequently repaired, the management team can confirm in the past whether replacement is needed, thereby reducing the number of troubled baggage trolleys. These data can also provide a reference for the purchase of airport luggage trolleys.