WhereNet automates vehicle tracking with RFID technology

Aug. 23, 2004
WhereNet Corp. has announced the WhereNet vehicle tracking and management system (VS) software. Based on its standards-based, real-time locating system

The WhereNet VS application enables users to track and optimize the processing of every vehicle, as well as conduct flow analysis for continuous improvement and optimized throughput and quality. Automotive OEMs use VS in off-line areas to manage post-assembly verification and test processes, as well as quality repair, containment and shipping zones. Vehicle processing centers and fleet and rental car operators use VS to increase the velocity of their distribution hubs and improve customer service.

When new vehicles roll off the assembly line in a factory or upon arrival at vehicle processing centers, each vehicle is assigned an active RFID WhereTag transmitter that is "married" to the vehicle identification number (VIN). The WhereTag remains on the vehicle until it has been processed and is ready to ship to its final destination - either directly to a dealership or to a processing center.

The WhereNet RTLS architecture includes an array of WhereLAN locating access points that capture and calculate the location of every tagged asset within an accuracy of 10 feet. The local-area network also leverages WherePort devices that trigger the WhereTag to emit a signal when entering or leaving a specific zone, enabling more granular data capture information.

By tracking and automatically recording the arrival, dwell and departure time for each vehicle at every step of the process, the solution generates constant location data as well as a historical record of the vehicle's progress through the off-line certification, repair and containment areas. In addition to being able to locate a unit on demand, the tracking data is also used to monitor such things as adherence to process, process cycle time and dwell time analysis for off-line areas.

The WhereNet system incorporates business rules and system alerts based on customer order status and dwell time. Then a logical hierarchy of rules manages the processing of every vehicle in accordance with its assigned status so that critical orders are processed before lower-priority units. Users cannot deviate from the proper sequence without overriding the system and generating an exception report.