RFID based Airport Logistics Management Tirthankar Datta, Debdoot Sheet, Avik Kr Si, Sayar Dutta Biswas, Debdeep Ghosh. Institute of Engineering & Management Salt Lake City, Kolkata, INDIA 700 091 {[email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]}

Abstract— RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is a wireless communication technology that provides a method of identifying and tracking tagged people and objects. RFID is rapidly becoming a cost-effective technology. RFID can be supplied as read only or read/write, does not require contact or line of sight to operate, can function under a variety of environmental conditions, and provides a high level of data integrity. An airport is a region of high flow of logistics & personal. A management system is utilized at such a place for effectively delivering the proper luggage to an individual. The present system implemented at most of the airports is based on locally tagging objects using optical techniques like barcodes. Moreover due to unavailability of an infrastructure for sharing such information relating to identity of luggage globally, tracking of items lost in transit poses a problem. Hence in the present work we seek to do an effective implementation on application of RFID in Airport Logistics Management, thus enabling the tagging of objects in air transit so as to enhance the chances of tracking objects lost in transit. The following article presents a brief overview into one such implementation whereby optical & RFID based object counters & identifiers work hand in hand to implement the infrastructure for such a proposed Logistics Management System. Index Terms— Wireless, Communication, RFID, Radio Frequency, Read Only Tags, Encryption, Decryption, RFID Reader, Logistics, Logistics management.

I. INTRODUCTION Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) consisting of a reader, tag and wireless channel, is a flexible wireless communication technology that is convenient, easy to use, and well suited for automatic operation [1]. It combines advantages not available with other identification technologies. This is in large part due to the efforts of WalMart and the Department of Defense (DoD) to incorporate RFID technology into their supply chains. This drive to incorporate RFID technology into their supply chains is motivated by the increased shipping, receiving and stocking efficiency and the decreased costs of labor, storage, and product loss that pallet-level visibility of inventory can offer [2][7]. Wal-Mart and the DoD are, respectively, the world’s largest retailer and the world’s largest supply chain operator. Due to the combined size of their operations, the RFID mandates are spurring growth in the RFID industry and bringing this emerging technology into the mainstream [8]. The costs of employing RFID are falling as a result of the mandates also, as an economy of scale is realized. Lastly, the mandates appear to have united the industry behind a single technology standard (EPC global’s Electronic Product Code standard) [9][10]. The management of luggage and baggage is a major problem at Airports. The volume of logistic traffic generated every day at an airport terminal adds to the complicacy of the

matter. The present system of management employs a scheme of tagging an individual’s luggage corresponding to his boarding pass number. This method has improved the time to process logistics faster at terminals. However there are some limitations faced by the system. The system is based on optical tagging technology using Bar-codes. This requires object visibility at line of sight and proximity of placement for effective detection at terminal. Moreover the technique is locally operated. The details of tagged items are separately maintained at source and destination. These limitations lead to certain real life complications. Cases of bags being lost or misplaced often occur. In such instances, due to locality of data as well as complicacy in the process of detecting tagged luggage, tracking is not easily possible. In this regard RFID technology can provide an excellent solution to effectively manage transport of luggage etc. at airports [6]. The following contents in this article initiates to explain the mechanism and the driving force behind RFID technology and its possibility as a solution to Logistics Management at Airports. II. ARCHITECTURE & FUNCTIONING OF A RFID SYSTEM An RFID system is composed of three basic components: a tag, a reader, and a host computer. RFID tags contain tiny semiconductor chips and miniaturized antennas inside some form of packaging [1]. They can be uniquely identified by the reader/host pair and, when applied or fastened to an object or a person, that object or person can be tracked and identified wirelessly and on the move. RFID tags come in many forms. For example, some look like paper labels and are applied to boxes and packaging; others are incorporated into the walls of injection molded plastic containers; and still others are built into wristbands and worn by people [5][7]. There are many types of RFID tags. Some include miniature batteries that are used to power the tag, and these are referred to as active tags. Those that don’t include an on-board battery have power “beamed” to them by the reader and are called passive tags. In addition, some tags have memories that can be written to and erased, like a computer hard disk, while others have memories that can only be read, like a CD-ROM; these are referred to as “smart” and read-only tags, respectively. The cost and performance of tags can vary widely depending on which of these features are included in their design. RFID readers are composed of an antenna and an electronics module. The antenna is used for communicating with RFID tags wirelessly. The electronics module is most often networked to the host computer through cables and relays messages between the host computer and all the tags within the antenna’s read range. The electronics module also performs a number of security functions such as

encryption/decryption and user authentication, and another critical function called anti-collision, which enables a reader to communicate with multiple tags simultaneously [1]. The main feature of RFID technology is its ability to identify, locate, track, and monitor people and objects without

a clear line of sight between the tag and the reader. Addressing some or all of these functional capabilities ultimately defines the RFID application to be developed in every industry, commerce, and service where data needs to be collected.

Fig. 1. Basic architecture of a RFID system III. ARCHITECTURE OF AN OBJECT COUNTER An object counter on a movable platform implemented using a conveyor belt is the unit forming the backbone of the proposed system. The following figure (Fig. 2) shows the mechanical modeling of the conveyor belt system in order to facilitate a proper understanding of the functioning of the system.

At the entry and exit points of the conveyor belt, there are two sensors present to optically detect the entry and exit of bags into and out of the conveyor belt system respectively. Each of these sensors consists of an LED-LDR pair. When a bag passes through such a pair, it is detected and the value of number of bags in transit displayed on the counter is accordingly modified i.e. the count is increased by one when an entry is detected and decreased by one when detection at the exit point occurs.

Fig. 2. Architecture of an object counters on movable platform

However, when a bag is detected at the point of entry, the presence of a valid RFID tag in the bag (or luggage material) is also checked for. For this purpose, there is a RFID reader present at the same location as the entry detector. In case no proper RFID tag gets detected (which is not the desired case), the motor driving the conveyor belt is switched off and the belt stops moving. After investigation of the problem is done, the conveyor belt is restarted again through a manual switch. The conveyor belt will also stop moving if, at any point of time, no bag is present on the belt, for reducing undesirable power consumption. Moreover the system is beneficial due to the fact that there is a mechanism of detecting the tagged luggage moving through the terminal. While each bag is previously tagged corresponding to the boarding pass number, the information is preserved at the entry point of the conveyor belt system. The same is passed on to the destination database. This information sharing serves the purpose of fast tracking of missing objects. If a tagged

bag, without an id corresponding to the one at dispatch centre is detected, then the dispatch operation is stopped and the identified bag is removed. Thus the id of the detected misplaced bag can be sent on a global hunt for detecting its correct destination and hence replaced appropriately with its correct destination. This serves as an auto detect and correct mechanism thus facilitation fast detection and recovery of misplaced luggage. IV. ACTUAL SYSTEM IMPLEMENTATION The actual hardware implementing the system is based on a simple microcontroller 8051 controlling the object counter system as well as the RFID detection mechanism is implemented using a Parallax RFID detector module and a BS2 microcontroller. The database is implemented on a Host PC connected to the RFID reader module. The circuitry (Fig.3) for the system suitably describes the functioning of the system.












VCC 29 30 31

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8


P1.0 P1.1 P1.2 P1.3 P1.4 P1.5 P1.6 P1.7

P0.0/AD0 P0.1/AD1 P0.2/AD2 P0.3/AD3 P0.4/AD4 P0.5/AD5 P0.6/AD6 P0.7/AD7 P2.0/A8 P2.1/A9 P2.2/A10 P2.3/A11 P2.4/A12 P2.5/A13 P2.6/A14 P2.7/A15 P3.0/RXD P3.1/TXD P3.2/INT0 P3.3/INT1 P3.4/T0 P3.5/T1 P3.6/WR P3.7/RD

39 38 37 36 35 34 33 32 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28


MOTOR DRIVE ULN 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

1B 2B 3B 4B 5B 6B 7B

COM 1C 2C 3C 4C 5C 6C 7C

9 16 15 14 13 12 11 10


10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17



Fig.3. Circuit for the actual system



V. FUNCTIONAL ALGORITHM The system in order to work properly implements the algorithm in Fig. 4 for tracking the whole process. START




RFID technology makes immediate economic sense in areas where the cost of failure is great. Homeland security is one area where a high premium can be placed on preventing problems before they occur. Accordingly, for the foreseeable future, developing effective homeland security RFID applications will continue to be a stimulus and driver in RFID technology development. It is hereby expected that the growth in RFID and the increasing demand for quality service in Logistics Management systems, would appropriately lead to a substantial scope of implementation of he proposed system. The proposed system is a basic outline of the system which can be appropriately modified and adapted as desired for the solution of such problems. The work proposed has further scope of improvement on being into the light of the day.












Fig.4. Flowchart for the mechanism VI. CONCLUSION In brief, the use of RFID technology is expected to grow significantly in the next five years, and it is predicted that someday RFID tags will be as pervasive as bar codes. While bar code tags and bar code systems are much less expensive than RFID at present, RFID provides many benefits that bar code systems cannot, such as: • The ability to both read and write to tags. • Higher data rate and larger memory size. • The ability to function without a direct line of sight between tag and reader. • The ability to communicate with more than one tag simultaneously. • Greater data security (through greater complexity and encryption). • Greater environmental durability (in the presence of dirt, water, etc.)

Debdoot Sheet, Atul Kumar, Agnibesh Dutta, Samrat Das Gupta, Tirthankar Datta, Subir Kr. Sarkar. “Realization and Simulation of the Hardware for RFID System and its Performance study.” Proc. of ICTES 2007. Dr. M.G.R. University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. December, 20-22, 2007. pp.697-700. [2]. Hunt, Puglia & Puglia. RFID – A Guide to Radio Frequency Identification. Wiley, 2007. [3]. Richard Boss. “Library RFID technology”. Library Technology Reports. Nov/Dec2003. [4]. Vinod Chachra and Daniel McPherson. “Personal privacy and use of RFID technology in libraries”. October2003. http://www.vtls.com/documents/privacy.pdf. [5]. Klaus Finkenzeller, RFID Handbook. John Wiley and Sons, 2003. [6]. Simson Garfinkel. “Adapting fair information practices to low cost RFID systems.” In Privacy in Ubiquitous Computing Workshop, 2002. http://www.simson.net/clips/academic/2000_Ubicomp_ RFID.pdf. [7]. IBM WebSphere RFID Handbook: A Solution Guide (www. ibm. com/redbooks). [8]. K. Finkenzeller: RFID Hand book: John Willy Leipzig Dritte edition, 2003. [9]. “Wal-Mart’s RFID Edict Ripples”. Info World, November 21, 2003. [10]. “Wal-Mart updates RFID roadmap, revises for ’05 deadline:” Computer World, May 19, 2004.

RFID based Airport Logistics Management

these are referred to as “smart” and read-only tags, respectively. The cost and performance of tags can vary widely depending on which of these features are .... IBM WebSphere RFID Handbook: A Solution Guide. (www. ibm. com/redbooks). [8]. K. Finkenzeller: RFID Hand book: John Willy Leipzig. Dritte edition, 2003. [9].

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