Crossecom RFID system: Vehicle ID, Access Control, personnel tracking
Crossecom’s ‘add on’ RFID system is designed to allow RFID to be integrated into existing control systems (such as retail automation at a service station) through a simple interface. This means that capabilities such as Vehicle Identification and Personnel Identification can be added onto existing systems in a modular fashion, with out the need to fully replace the entire system. Crossecom, of course, can offer the completely integrated system if required.
The interface to the RFID Controller is executed through a TCP/IP socket, which means that the system is compatible with standard networks.
Crossecom’s RFID system uses ‘Active’ antennae which are connected to the pump for their data and power transmission, while the vehicles and customers are issued with ‘Passive’ tags, meaning that the installation costs and time requirements are kept to an absolute minimum.
Upgrading a pump with Crossecom RFID equipment can take up to a few hours depending on the level of the installation (pump type, number of antennae required etc), but one pump on the forecourt can be closed and upgraded at a time, meaning that the rest of the pumps on the forecourt can keep trading, and customer disruption can be kept at an absolute minimum.
Each pump must have a data (RS485) connection to a central point, where the RFID control system will be installed. Typically, pumps that have been automated have spare wires already laid that can be used for this purpose
Fitting a vehicle tag to a customer vehicle only takes a few minutes, and Crossecom can supply a range of tools and diagnostic equipment to assist in this process.
Physically, the RFID system consists of several different items:
A rugged solid state computer which controls the RFID system and is the point of interface
PROTOCOL INTERFACE UNIT:
Allows an interface between the RS232 port of the RFID server and the RS485 communications port on each RFID CONTROL BOARD, as well as providing an optically isolated barrier between the RS232 and RS485 links
Active RFID Antenna for reading handheld tags
Active nozzle mounted RFID antenna for reading vehicle mounted tags
For entry of numeric data such as Personal Identification Numbers, or other data such as vehicle odometers.
RFID CONTROLLER BOARD (Including Power supply and Safety Barrier):
Mounted in the pump itself, this unit controls the RFID antennae, and reticulates intrinsically safe power to the external peripherals.
Passive RFID tags in custom build enclosures that enable the tags to be securely fitted to a vehicle in such a manner that will allow use under normal circumstances, but will (when used with the correct adhesive system) render the tags inoperable if any attempt is made to remove them from the vehicle.
Handheld tags (such as ‘keyfob’ or card type tags) that can be used with the panel antenna to provide positive identification in instances where automatic vehicle identification is not required (or where further identification is required over the vehicle tag).
The diagrams below show a typical installation at a service station, whereby the pumps are fitted with RFID antennae on the nozzles and pump faces, and the RFID server is connected over a LAN connection to the existing site control system. In this scenario, all other site operations (such as pump control and account management) are handled by external devices.
One possible flow of actions for a fuel sale would be:
- Customer lifts pump nozzle.
- Existing pump control system recognizes calling pump and activates nozzle antenna for that nozzle, and panel antenna for that pump
- RFID system searches for tags
- Customer places nozzle in vehicle fuelling neck, which is fitted with vehicle tag
- Nozzle Antenna reads tag information, verifies tag information, then sends that data to existing pump control system.
- Pump control system looks up tag data in account database and determines that account has available funds, the correct grade has been selected for that account, and authorizes pump to fuel a specific value of fuel
- Pump starts delivering fuel.
- Customer removes nozzle from vehicle fuelling neck to attempt filling of jerry can
- Nozzle antenna is unable to read tag as soon as nozzle is removed from close proximity to tag, and reports tag loss to pump control system
- Pump control system stops pump to prevent unauthorized fuelling
- Customer returns nozzle to vehicle fuelling neck
- Nozzle Antenna reads tag information, verifies tag information, then sends that data to existing pump control system
- Pump control system reauthorizes pump to continue fuelling
- Customer completes fuelling and hangs up nozzle
- Pump control system debits customer account by actual amount fuelled
- Customer drives away
The development kit is designed to be used to design, develop, and test the interface between the controlling system and the RFID system, in preparation for installation in the field.
For the development kit, all components with the exception of the RFID SERVER unit are housed in a single road case. The pinpad and two panel antennae are mounted on the inner panel of the road case, which also has an IEC power connector and serial connector for connection to the RFID SERVER’s serial port.
The road case is able to support 110 or 220/240 volt power input.
The second panel antenna can be configured to function as a Nozzle Antenna for development purposes, or the unit can be optionally fitted with an external nozzle antenna that can be fitted to an actual fuel nozzle.
The RFID SERVER itself is supplied in its own metal enclosure, and is supplied with the serial cable required to connect the road case to the RFID SERVER.
The RFID SERVER is able to support 110 or 220/240 volt power input.
A set of vehicle and handheld tags accompany the kit for development and testing purposes, as well as the interface documentation, and a sample application that can be used to verify operation of the system, or to conduct a communications session that can be logged for analysis.