Toyota South Africa to Use RFID for Vehicle Tracking

Toyota South Africa Motors (Pty) Ltd., has selected Alien Technology Corp. (Morgan Hill, Calif.) radio-frequency identification (RFID) products as the basis for its automated vehicle identification application program. Toyota will use the RFID tags and readers to track vehicles from post-production to shipment.

Traditionally, RFID-based vehicle tracking applications have been hampered by costly microwave systems and proprietary RFID protocols. Toyota’s application will use open, global-standard EPC RFID technology that combines consistent reads, even in a heavy metallic environment, with the ability to leverage extremely low-cost RFID tags.

An Alien RFID tag will be applied to each Toyota vehicle during production. The tags will then be read by readers at ranges exceeding six meters as the vehicle is tracked from within the assembly plant, through the plant exit, and through the vehicle distribution yard. The tracking will enable Toyota to streamline and accelerate its vehicle shipping and invoicing processes, and thus its time-to-cash.

According to Johan Stoop, senior manager, manufacturing engineering services for Toyota South Africa, the anticipated savings on interest for the targeted reduction of stock (vehicles “on rubber”) of one day is expected to more than offset the capital expense for this RFID Project.

The current annual production capacity of Toyota’s plant in Durban is 100,000 vehicles, which is set to expand to 220,000 units per year by 2008. The South African plant exports units to both Australia and Europe.

Source: Alien Technology Corporation

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