Using Solar-Powered RFID To Track Traffic

As RFID engineers try to struggle to get the tags to do more with less power, researchers at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have come up with a novel twist: solar power.

The sunny-thinking folk (who are hopefully not singing "When I Wish Upon A Star") have teamed with the New York State Department of Transportation to use these solar-powered mobile RFID interrogator that will monitor traffic flow by reading EZPass tags attached to passing cars, according to an interesting story in Friday's RFID Journal. An mGate interrogator collects the data powered by a single 100-watt solar panel and could be used to reroute traffic when roads are overly congested.

The outside-based system isn't ready for year-round use yet, though. The story said that winter is bad time for testing as snow plows could endanger the readers.