RFID allowing for Hands-Free Vehicle Operation

November 27, 2008

RFID allowing for Hands-Free Vehicle Operation
~James Dunn

Since RFID are cheap. Why couldn’t they be put in roadways at precise locations every few feet to help vehicles navigate hands-free?

The RFID could have a reference ID that could be compared to a national database that would give the vehicle information about the surrounding area like construction, general road condition, up-coming turnouts, accident history, historical traffic for that time of day, …

This would allow vehicles to precisely know where they are when the GPS goes on the blink due to clouds, interferrence, or building obstructions; like downtown New York.

At various points along the route data could be uplinked into the cars navigation system through an RFID device; like at stop lights. But along a route there might not be sufficient time at a velocity to hand-shake much information while passing over an RFID. I was thinking more that a separate broad area radio kept cars updated with area information while the RFID was used for geo-location.

The Earth has a total land surface area of 230712707483000000 in^2, so theoretically, if an RFID were put every square inch on the Earth, that would be 1100110011101001111111110000101110101100010101110011000000 in binary or 58 bits of data. An RFID can easily be programmed to transpond 58 unique bits of data. Overkill, I know. I’m just trying to show that an RFID can practically be used for geolocation on roadways. In actuality there are currently less than 6.2 million miles of roadways in the US. Assuming they are all 4 lane highways(worst case), that would mean at most 4 rows of RFID every 3 feet; that’s 43,648,000,000 RFID or 101000101001100111111010000000000000 in binary, 36 unique bits of data.

Magnets have been embedded in roadways to allow vehicles to navigate hands-free. I wonder what the range is for a magnet embedded in the roadway? Do you remember reading anything about the detection range or how it was implemented? Would off-road vehicles and commercial trucks have to extend a boom to reliably detect the magnets? And magnets don’t have any information encoded so there would be high likelihood that the vehicle would get lost if outside telemetry were interrupted; GPS.

In addition to geo-location the markers could also be coded to

* prevent vehicles from entering secure areas,
* automatically charging your credit card for tollways,
* identifying empty parking spaces in parking lots and structures,
* tracking stolen vehicles,
* accurately marking roadway painted lines,
* provide surveyors with quick references for laying out land,
* provide detailed information related to continental creep,
* provide indicators for impending earthquake magnitudes and locations,
* provide handicapped with similar technologies for navigating the sidewalks and crosswalks of cities,
* provide emergency vehicles with precise lane clearance information for route planning to an emergency,
* …

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