3 Ways To Use RFID For Vehicle Tracking

3 ways to use RFID for vehicle tracking


From gated communities to waste disposal sites to car washes, access control and other types of vehicle tracking applications have emerged as an extremely viable option for radio frequency identification technology (RFID). And it goes beyond simply raising the gate or opening the door; information in the database tied to the number programmed into the RFID inlay can provide valuable information about the customer and/or vehicle. Controlling access and/or tracking the vehicle is just one aspect of the application. How far you want to take it is up to you.

RFID is a contactless technology and in today’s day and age that means more than it ever has before. Because of this there are numerous reasons to use RFID with vehicles. Below I’ve outlined three of the most popular applications.

Access Control Adds Additional Level Of Security

Controlling vehicle access to individual locations – whether it’s corporate facilities, gated communities or downtown parking lots – can be a challenge. Using RFID for access control application adds an additional level of security by knowing which vehicle/individual had access to a specific area and when. In addition, if there is an incident requiring the authorities being able to track vehicle entries and exits is definitely a benefit. RFID is also a more efficient way of controlling access thereby eliminating the need for on-site staff and the hassle of stopping for a card reader.

Vehicle Identification Has Many Forms

Vehicle identification takes many different forms depending on the industry. Car washes, for example, use RFID tags to identify vehicles enrolled in membership loyalty programs with the number programmed into the tag associated with the information about the vehicle in the software on the back end. Windshield tags for car washes are a perfect example where the printing on the tag serves a dual purpose – both a visual for the car wash where the customer has the loyalty program with as well as advertising for the car wash when driving around. This makes a double-sided RFID Windshield Tag the perfect product for this type of application. More on this product below.

Vehicle Tracking Ranges From Tollways To Dealerships

Vehicle tracking applications run from certain tollways to vehicle inventory tracking for large wholesale car dealerships or even large rental car companies. RFID helps streamline the process and eliminate lag time for the customer by automating inventory control. It can also improve employee accountability and reduce labor and equipment costs. Car dealerships can also track information about the vehicle as it travels through the inspection process – similar to a work-in-process application in manufacturing.

How to Tag a Vehicle with RFID

Not all RFID tags are alike and access control, vehicle identification and vehicle tracking applications face specific environmental conditions – namely extreme temperature rangers and sunlight – so depending on your specific application, there are a number of different tags that may fit the bill.

  • RFID Windshield Tags – RFID Windshield Tags can be made for mounting either inside or outside the vehicle. Exposing the tag to outdoor elements including UV rays will affect the longevity of the tag and will also require a more durable tag construction. Inlays used for RFID Windshield tags are typically optimized for use on windshield glass and receive greater than 20 feet of read range. Built-in security features are another possibility with RFID Windshield Tags. Features like destructible material, strategically placed security slits or even chip detachment deter transferability of the RFID Windshield Tag from one vehicle to another. Onsite printable RFID Windshield Tags are available for applications where information is dynamic or not known prior to the actual tag application process. This type of RFID Windshield Tag is ideal for previously described vehicle tracking applications.
  • RFID Rearview Mirror Hang Tags – like the RFID Windshield Tag, the RFID Rearview Mirror Hang Tag is an optimal choice for access control, vehicle identification and vehicle tracking. Whereas the RFID Windshield Tag is ideal for more of a permanent solution, the RFID Rearview Mirror Hang Tag is perfect for temporary applications. Remove and reuse these tags again and again thereby increasing your ROI. Double-sided printing and even double-sided variable printing (barcode on both sides) allows the RFID Rearview Mirror Hang Tag to effectively utilize redundant technology – RFID, barcode and human readable numbers.
  • Sideview Mirror RFID Tags – some customers do not want the RFID tag to be visible in the application and for this reason the Sideview Mirror RFID Tag is an option. Place the Sideview Mirror RFID Tag underneath the sideview mirror of the car keep the tag hidden. There’s even the possibility of flood coat printing the tag the same color of the vehicle to make the tag even less vehicle. As with all RFID applications the success using this type of an RFID tag is going to be heavily dependent on reader placement.
  • RFID Headlamp Tags – like the Sideview Mirror RFID Tags, the RFID Headlamp Tags are ideal for vehicle applications where users do not want the tag to be highly visible. RFID Headlamp Tags consist of a tag with a clear construction and an inlay which uses a chip that is not sensitive to light.

Today, more than ever, RFID applications for access control, vehicle identification and vehicle tracking are affordable, accessible and the possibilities for RFID are as varied as the vehicles themselves.