New! View global litigation for patent families

US20020153418A1 - Object control and tracking system with zonal transition detection - Google Patents

Object control and tracking system with zonal transition detection Download PDF

Info

Publication number
US20020153418A1
US20020153418A1 US10172291 US17229102A US2002153418A1 US 20020153418 A1 US20020153418 A1 US 20020153418A1 US 10172291 US10172291 US 10172291 US 17229102 A US17229102 A US 17229102A US 2002153418 A1 US2002153418 A1 US 2002153418A1
Authority
US
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
controller
rf
vehicle
tags
system
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
Application number
US10172291
Inventor
William Maloney
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Key Trak Inc
Original Assignee
Key Trak Inc
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

Links

Images

Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B13/00Burglar, theft or intruder alarms
    • G08B13/02Mechanical actuation
    • G08B13/14Mechanical actuation by lifting or attempted removal of hand-portable articles
    • G08B13/1445Mechanical actuation by lifting or attempted removal of hand-portable articles with detection of interference with a cable tethering an article, e.g. alarm activated by detecting detachment of article, breaking or stretching of cable
    • G08B13/1454Circuit arrangements thereof
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06KRECOGNITION OF DATA; PRESENTATION OF DATA; RECORD CARRIERS; HANDLING RECORD CARRIERS
    • G06K17/00Methods or arrangements for effecting co-operative working between equipments covered by two or more of the preceding main groups, e.g. automatic card files incorporating conveying and reading operations
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06KRECOGNITION OF DATA; PRESENTATION OF DATA; RECORD CARRIERS; HANDLING RECORD CARRIERS
    • G06K7/00Methods or arrangements for sensing record carriers, e.g. for reading patterns
    • G06K7/0008General problems related to the reading of electronic memory record carriers, independent of its reading method, e.g. power transfer
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07BTICKET-ISSUING APPARATUS; FARE-REGISTERING APPARATUS; FRANKING APPARATUS
    • G07B15/00Arrangements or apparatus for collecting fares, tolls or entrance fees at one or more control points
    • G07B15/02Arrangements or apparatus for collecting fares, tolls or entrance fees at one or more control points taking into account a variable factor such as distance or time, e.g. for passenger transport, parking systems or car rental systems
    • G07B15/04Arrangements or apparatus for collecting fares, tolls or entrance fees at one or more control points taking into account a variable factor such as distance or time, e.g. for passenger transport, parking systems or car rental systems comprising devices to free a barrier, turnstile, or the like
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B13/00Burglar, theft or intruder alarms
    • G08B13/02Mechanical actuation
    • G08B13/14Mechanical actuation by lifting or attempted removal of hand-portable articles
    • G08B13/1427Mechanical actuation by lifting or attempted removal of hand-portable articles with transmitter-receiver for distance detection
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B13/00Burglar, theft or intruder alarms
    • G08B13/02Mechanical actuation
    • G08B13/14Mechanical actuation by lifting or attempted removal of hand-portable articles
    • G08B13/1445Mechanical actuation by lifting or attempted removal of hand-portable articles with detection of interference with a cable tethering an article, e.g. alarm activated by detecting detachment of article, breaking or stretching of cable
    • G08B13/1463Physical arrangements, e.g. housings
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B13/00Burglar, theft or intruder alarms
    • G08B13/22Electrical actuation
    • G08B13/24Electrical actuation by interference with electromagnetic field distribution
    • G08B13/2402Electronic Article Surveillance [EAS], i.e. systems using tags for detecting removal of a tagged item from a secure area, e.g. tags for detecting shoplifting
    • G08B13/2405Electronic Article Surveillance [EAS], i.e. systems using tags for detecting removal of a tagged item from a secure area, e.g. tags for detecting shoplifting characterised by the tag technology used
    • G08B13/2414Electronic Article Surveillance [EAS], i.e. systems using tags for detecting removal of a tagged item from a secure area, e.g. tags for detecting shoplifting characterised by the tag technology used using inductive tags
    • G08B13/2417Electronic Article Surveillance [EAS], i.e. systems using tags for detecting removal of a tagged item from a secure area, e.g. tags for detecting shoplifting characterised by the tag technology used using inductive tags having a radio frequency identification chip
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B13/00Burglar, theft or intruder alarms
    • G08B13/22Electrical actuation
    • G08B13/24Electrical actuation by interference with electromagnetic field distribution
    • G08B13/2402Electronic Article Surveillance [EAS], i.e. systems using tags for detecting removal of a tagged item from a secure area, e.g. tags for detecting shoplifting
    • G08B13/2428Tag details
    • G08B13/2431Tag circuit details
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B13/00Burglar, theft or intruder alarms
    • G08B13/22Electrical actuation
    • G08B13/24Electrical actuation by interference with electromagnetic field distribution
    • G08B13/2402Electronic Article Surveillance [EAS], i.e. systems using tags for detecting removal of a tagged item from a secure area, e.g. tags for detecting shoplifting
    • G08B13/2428Tag details
    • G08B13/2434Tag housing and attachment details
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B13/00Burglar, theft or intruder alarms
    • G08B13/22Electrical actuation
    • G08B13/24Electrical actuation by interference with electromagnetic field distribution
    • G08B13/2402Electronic Article Surveillance [EAS], i.e. systems using tags for detecting removal of a tagged item from a secure area, e.g. tags for detecting shoplifting
    • G08B13/2428Tag details
    • G08B13/2448Tag with at least dual detection means, e.g. combined inductive and ferromagnetic tags, dual frequencies within a single technology, tampering detection or signalling means on the tag
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B13/00Burglar, theft or intruder alarms
    • G08B13/22Electrical actuation
    • G08B13/24Electrical actuation by interference with electromagnetic field distribution
    • G08B13/2402Electronic Article Surveillance [EAS], i.e. systems using tags for detecting removal of a tagged item from a secure area, e.g. tags for detecting shoplifting
    • G08B13/2451Specific applications combined with EAS
    • G08B13/2462Asset location systems combined with EAS
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B13/00Burglar, theft or intruder alarms
    • G08B13/22Electrical actuation
    • G08B13/24Electrical actuation by interference with electromagnetic field distribution
    • G08B13/2402Electronic Article Surveillance [EAS], i.e. systems using tags for detecting removal of a tagged item from a secure area, e.g. tags for detecting shoplifting
    • G08B13/2465Aspects related to the EAS system, e.g. system components other than tags
    • G08B13/2468Antenna in system and the related signal processing
    • G08B13/2471Antenna signal processing by receiver or emitter
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B13/00Burglar, theft or intruder alarms
    • G08B13/22Electrical actuation
    • G08B13/24Electrical actuation by interference with electromagnetic field distribution
    • G08B13/2402Electronic Article Surveillance [EAS], i.e. systems using tags for detecting removal of a tagged item from a secure area, e.g. tags for detecting shoplifting
    • G08B13/2465Aspects related to the EAS system, e.g. system components other than tags
    • G08B13/2468Antenna in system and the related signal processing
    • G08B13/2474Antenna or antenna activator geometry, arrangement or layout
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B13/00Burglar, theft or intruder alarms
    • G08B13/22Electrical actuation
    • G08B13/24Electrical actuation by interference with electromagnetic field distribution
    • G08B13/2402Electronic Article Surveillance [EAS], i.e. systems using tags for detecting removal of a tagged item from a secure area, e.g. tags for detecting shoplifting
    • G08B13/2465Aspects related to the EAS system, e.g. system components other than tags
    • G08B13/2468Antenna in system and the related signal processing
    • G08B13/2477Antenna or antenna activator circuit
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B13/00Burglar, theft or intruder alarms
    • G08B13/22Electrical actuation
    • G08B13/24Electrical actuation by interference with electromagnetic field distribution
    • G08B13/2402Electronic Article Surveillance [EAS], i.e. systems using tags for detecting removal of a tagged item from a secure area, e.g. tags for detecting shoplifting
    • G08B13/2465Aspects related to the EAS system, e.g. system components other than tags
    • G08B13/2482EAS methods, e.g. description of flow chart of the detection procedure
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B21/00Alarms responsive to a single specified undesired or abnormal operating condition and not elsewhere provided for
    • G08B21/02Alarms for ensuring the safety of persons
    • G08B21/0202Child monitoring systems using a transmitter-receiver system carried by the parent and the child
    • G08B21/0227System arrangements with a plurality of child units
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B21/00Alarms responsive to a single specified undesired or abnormal operating condition and not elsewhere provided for
    • G08B21/02Alarms for ensuring the safety of persons
    • G08B21/0202Child monitoring systems using a transmitter-receiver system carried by the parent and the child
    • G08B21/0286Tampering or removal detection of the child unit from child or article
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B21/00Alarms responsive to a single specified undesired or abnormal operating condition and not elsewhere provided for
    • G08B21/02Alarms for ensuring the safety of persons
    • G08B21/0202Child monitoring systems using a transmitter-receiver system carried by the parent and the child
    • G08B21/0288Attachment of child unit to child/article
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06KRECOGNITION OF DATA; PRESENTATION OF DATA; RECORD CARRIERS; HANDLING RECORD CARRIERS
    • G06K17/00Methods or arrangements for effecting co-operative working between equipments covered by two or more of the preceding main groups, e.g. automatic card files incorporating conveying and reading operations
    • G06K2017/0035Aspects not covered by other subgroups
    • G06K2017/0045Tracking objects or persons

Abstract

An improved object tracking and control system is provided and is particularly suited to implementation at an automobile dealership. The system includes a Key Track system adapted to control access to and log the check out and check in of keys to vehicles on the lot. RFID tags are provided on the vehicles and tag readers are embedded at selected locations within the dealership parking lot to detect movement of vehicles. In one embodiment, the lot is subdivided into zones and the readers are located at transition regions between the zones. Information about the check out and check in of keys from the Key Track system is combined and integrated with information about the movement of vehicles about the lot to reach conclusions regarding authorized movement and to provide useful information to dealership management.

Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    Many objects have intrinsic value while other objects have value because they provide access to intrinsically valuable objects. For instance, jewelry, coins, automobiles, sensitive business files, and similar objects have intrinsic value. Accordingly, these items generally are secured against theft or misuse either by locking them in vaults or storage cabinets in the case of smaller objects, or by providing them with their own locking and security systems such as, for example, locks and security systems on automobiles. Keys to automobiles, storage cabinets, file rooms, or apartment complexes are examples of objects that have value because they provide access to intrinsically valuable objects.
  • [0002]
    The collection of keys to automobiles at an automobile dealership have substantial value because of the number of vehicles to which they provide access. Accordingly, such collections of keys have traditionally been either locked up or tracked in some way, not only to prevent theft of vehicles but also to allow sales and maintenance personnel to locate the keys to a vehicle quickly when the vehicle needs to be shown, test driven, or provided with maintenance. Tracking and control of access to these keys is therefore of critical importance to an automobile dealership.
  • [0003]
    In the past, a variety of systems have been implemented to track and control access to keys to vehicles in an automobile dealership. For example, peg boards have been used to keep track of keys as salespersons, maintenance personnel, and others remove keys for access to vehicles. Generally, sign-out sheets have been employed to log the check-in and check-out of such keys. Obviously, such a manual system of tracking has numerous shortcomings due in large part to the very real potential of human error and forgetfulness in carrying out the sign-in and sign-out procedures.
  • [0004]
    More recently, automated computer controlled key tracking systems have been implemented for tracking vehicle keys at automobile dealerships and other types of keys such as pass keys to the apartments of apartment complexes. One such system particularly applicable to the present invention and used widely at automobile dealerships is the key tracking system disclosed and claimed in my U.S. Pat. No. 5,801,628, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated fully by reference. In this system, referred to herein as the “Key Track” system, keys to a vehicle are attached with a rivet or the like to a thin plastic key tag having a depending tongue. The tongue carries a small button-shaped electronic touch memory device, which stores a unique code. The tongues of the key tags are configured to be insertable in an array of slots formed in a top panel within a storage drawer. A printed circuit backplane is disposed beneath the array of slots and is provided with a plurality of pairs of upstanding metal contacts, each pair of contacts being aligned with a corresponding one of the slots. When the tongue of a key tag is inserted in a selected one of the slots, its touch memory device is engaged by the corresponding pair of contacts. The Key Track system may alternatively include radio frequency or RF tags rather than touch memory devices. In such an embodiment, the codes stored on the tags are communicated to RF sensors on the backplane, eliminating the need for physical contacts.
  • [0005]
    A computer based controller is electronically coupled through a communications buss such as a data matrix to the contacts or sensors on the backplane and periodically polls each pair of contacts or sensor, preferably several times per second, to determine the presence or absence of a touch memory device or RF tag and thus which slots in the storage drawer contain key tags and which do not. When a slot contains a key tag, the touch memory device of the tag is read to determine its unique code, from which the identity of the particular key on the tag can be determined through a table lookup. In this way, the absence or presence and location within the storage drawer of the key tags and their associated keys can be noted by the controller each time the array of contacts are polled. If a tag present in a slot on a prior polling is absent on a subsequent polling, then the controller notes that the tag and its key have been removed from the storage drawer. Conversely, if a key tag is detected in a previously empty slot, the controller notes that the tag and its key have been replaced in the storage drawer and also notes the location of the slot in which the tag resides. The removal and replacement or “check out” and “check in” of keys at the storage location is therefore continuously monitored.
  • [0006]
    An access feature of the Key Track system requires an authorized user such a salesperson needing a particular key to enter an ID code into the controller to unlock and access the storage drawer. The controller then informs the user of the location within the drawer of the key tag bearing the key, or, if the key has been checked out by another, so informs the user. When the history of check out and check in of key tags and their keys is combined with other available information, such as the time at which tags are removed and replaced and the identities of the persons who accessed the drawer and times of access, access to the keys in the drawer can be controlled and monitored, detailed tracking logs can be created, and queries can be made of the controller at any time to ascertain which keys are checked out and the identities of individuals who checked them out. This system greatly decreases instances of lost or hoarded keys, reduces the time required to find keys, and generally provides automatic tracking and control of the keys, and thus, to some extent, tracks the vehicles to which the keys provide access.
  • [0007]
    The Key Track system described above has proven extremely valuable in the tracking and control of keys. However, the tracking information available to the system is limited to the time that each key is checked out, the time it is checked back in, and the identity of the individual who accessed the key. Information about the disposition of the key in the interim between check out and check in, and more importantly the disposition and movements of the vehicle or object to which the key provides access have not been available to the Key Track system. Nevertheless, such information, if available, could be valuable to automobile dealerships for a variety of purposes. For example, such information, when coupled and integrated with already available information from the basic Key Track system, can enable compilation of statistics regarding the average lengths of test drives, which sales personnel take customers for test drives most often, and which test drives results in sales. In a broader sense, the ability to monitor the movement of It vehicles accessed by checked out keys can allow dealerships to locate vehicles on a lot simply by issuing a query to the controller, to follow vehicle movements between designated areas or “zones” of the lot, to confirm that when a vehicle leaves the lot, its key has been checked out by a person authorized to take the vehicle, and to detect theft by sensing when a vehicle attempts to leave the lot without its key having been properly checked out. In a similar environment, a rental car lot, the ability to monitor the disposition of keys and movement of vehicles can prevent vehicles from leaving the lot without having been properly leased, allows rental vehicles to be located accurately and quickly, and deters theft. In all these situations there is a strong interest in tracking vehicle movements about a lot between the time when the keys to the vehicle are checked out and when they are checked back in and in determining when vehicles leave and when they return to the lot.
  • [0008]
    Thus, a need exists for a method and apparatus and an enhancement to the basic Key Track system to enable the system to track not only the check out and check in of keys, but also the interim movements of vehicles to which the keys provide access. It is to the provision of such a method and apparatus that the present invention is primarily directed.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0009]
    Briefly and broadly described, the present invention comprises a system for tracking the movement of objects in a predefined area. The system includes a central computer or microprocessor based controller and a readable tag on each of the objects to be tracked. Preferably, the readable tags are radio frequency (RF) tags, which store unique codes identifying their corresponding objects and transmit their codes when appropriately activated. Readers, which preferably comprise RF sensors or antennas connected to local controller/receivers, are positioned at preselected locations within the predefined area for reading the codes of the-readable tags as objects bearing the tags move past the readers. The preselected locations can correspond to transition regions between designated zones of the area within which the objects are to be tracked. Communication links connect the local controllers to the central controller. The central controller is programmed to collect data from the local controllers and to issue instructions to the local controllers for monitoring, tracking, and controlling the movement of objects within the predefined area.
  • [0010]
    A more specific and preferred embodiment of the invention, and the embodiment that forms the context within which the invention is described herein and that is considered the best mode of practicing the invention, comprises enhancements and improvements to the Key Track system disclosed in my U.S. Pat. No. 5,801,628 to adapt the system for use in tracking and controlling the movement of vehicles at an automobile dealership. It should be understood, however, that even though the invention is described in the context of such an embodiment for clarity, many other applications and embodiments, some of which are discussed in more detail below, are possible and all such applications and embodiments should be considered to be within the scope of the invention.
  • [0011]
    In the preferred embodiment, vehicles at a dealership are each provided with one or more RF tags and the dealership lot is organized into a number of logical zones, such as the service area, fueling area, areas outside lot exits, and the like. Tag readers are located at the transition regions between the zones and each tag reader includes a local controller and one or more antennas or other appropriate sensors, preferably embedded within the pavement at the transition regions. The local controllers are connected through communications links to the central Key Track system controller, which also monitors and controls access to keys to the vehicles as previously described. The communications links can be one of many possible types of data links including, for example, RS232 lines, ethernet links, or parallel or serial communications busses.
  • [0012]
    As vehicles are moved from one zone of the lot to another, they pass the tag readers at the transition regions, where the RF tags of the vehicles are activated to transmit their unique codes, which are received by the local controllers and conveyed to the central controller. The central controller can thus determine the movement of each vehicle about the lot as well as movement of vehicles off of and onto the lot through the lot exit. This information is combined with information maintained by the Key Track system about the disposition of the keys to each vehicle, such as the identity of the person who checked out the keys, to provide substantially improved and enhanced monitoring and control of vehicle movement. For example, if a vehicle approaches the exit to leave the lot, the central controller is able to determine whether the individual who checked out the keys has authority to remove the vehicle from the lot. If so, a gate can be opened and if not appropriate alarms can be generated. Further, and even more significantly, the system provides automatic day time security against theft without the need for gates or other physical barriers. More specifically, if a vehicle is detected by a reader and its key has not been checked out, then a theft is indicated and appropriate alarms or remedial actions can be taken. In addition to authorizing vehicle movement and providing security, useful data such as the length of test drives, maintenance histories, fuel usage, and the like becomes readily available to the dealership through the present invention and can be used to improve procedures and ultimately provide better service to the customer.
  • [0013]
    Many other embodiments and implementations of the present invention are possible, both within the context of an automobile dealership and otherwise. For example, the invention can be implemented with advantageous results in an automobile rental lot or any place where vehicles or, indeed, any mobile objects need to be tracked. Placement of two reader antennas in close proximity and/or two RF tags on a vehicle enhances the ability to determine the transition of a vehicle from one zone to another and provides built in system redundancies. If desired, the monitored zones within a parking lot can be as small as one parking space so that the precise location of each vehicle in the lot can be determined.
  • [0014]
    Other applications and embodiments of the invention include controlling access to and tracking the movement of sensitive or confidential files within a file room, tracking the check out and movement of expensive tools at a work site, the tracking and control of access to evidence in a court's evidence room, and other applications where tracking the movement of and controlling access to objects is desirable.
  • [0015]
    Thus, a method and system is now provided that enhances the Key Track system by adding the capability not only to log check out and check in of keys, but also to monitor and collect information about and authorize the movement of vehicles corresponding to the keys. The collected information is transmitted to the Key Track controller where it is combined and strategically integrated with existing information about the disposition of keys to provide valuable reports and to control ingress and egress to the lot or between various zones of the lot. The combined information can be used for other purposes, such as scheduling and tracking maintenance schedules where vehicles naturally move from one zone to the next as part of the maintenance process. In a broader sense, monitoring and control of access to and movement of many types of portable objects is possible with this invention. These and other applications, features, objects, and advantages of the invention will become more apparent upon review of the detailed description set forth below taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing figures, which are briefly described as follows.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0016]
    [0016]FIG. 1 is a simplified diagramatic sketch of an automotive dealership subdivided into zones and illustrating the present invention in a preferred embodiment thereof.
  • [0017]
    [0017]FIG. 2 is a perspective illustration of a zonal transition region within an automotive dealership showing the embedded antennae and local controller of the tag reader.
  • [0018]
    [0018]FIG. 3 is a perspective view illustrating application of the present invention to control operation of a fueling station in an automotive dealership.
  • [0019]
    [0019]FIG. 4 is a perspective view illustrating application of the present invention to monitor and control ingress and egress at an automotive dealership.
  • [0020]
    [0020]FIG. 5 is a perspective view illustrating the approach of a It vehicle equipped with RF tags at a transition region between zones of an automobile dealership.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
  • [0021]
    As mentioned above, the invention is described herein within the context of tracking movements of vehicles within an automobile dealership and specifically the strategic integration of such tracking with an existing Key Track system, which is described in detail in the incorporated disclosure of U.S. Pat. No. 5,801,628. Many other applications and embodiments are possible and some are described in more detail below. Further, the system and method of this invention makes use of a variety of electronic components such as RF tags and RF tag readers. In general, the construction and operation of such components is beyond the scope of the present invention and will not be described in detail. However, such components are commercially available and their use and electronic interconnections is generally known to those of skill in the art. For example, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) products, including RF tags and readers are available from Texas Instruments, Inc., which markets both paper tags under the trade name “Tagit” and glass capsule tags. SCS, Inc. markets RFID products under various trade names including DuraLabel and Trolleyponder and licenses the technology of these devices. Other companies including Phillips and AEG also offer RFID products. Many of these commercially available products are suitable for application in the present invention.
  • [0022]
    While a detailed description of RFID hardware and techniques is not necessary, a general overview is helpful. Most commercially available RF tags and reading systems rely on low frequency magnetic field coupling for communication. RF tag readers in many instances include a multi turn loop antenna with a large number of loops to maximize the magnitude of the magnetic flux generated by the antenna and thus its range. Other types of antennae are possible including capacitively coupled antennas, dipole antennas, and the like. Many RF tags are passive devices that store a unique code and are powered by capturing a fraction of the energy radiated by the reader's antenna when the tag is in the vicinity of the antenna. More specifically, RF tags typically consist of a small antenna coupled to an integrated circuit chip, which includes a memory for storing an ID code and perhaps other information and controlling mechanisms for transmitting the code to be received by the reader's antenna. These passive tags include power regulation hardware to capture a fraction of the incident power from the reader's antenna and to charge a capacitor, which acts as a local battery. The power-on/reset circuitry causes the integrated circuit to activate and begin operation when operational power levels are sufficient.
  • [0023]
    Once energized and activated, the RF tag communicates with the reader by modulating the induced radio frequency currents with the unique ID code. The reader, in turn, includes demodulation circuitry, which interprets the received modulations to extract the code. In this way, the unique code stored in the RF tag is transmitted to the reader. The reader can then convey this code through an appropriate communications link (for example a parallel or serial communications buss, RS 232 link, ethernet link, wireless communications link, and the like) to a remote controller or computer. Active RF tags are also available commercially as alternatives to passive tags. Generally, these tags have an on board power source and many are able to receive and store data as well as to communicate data to a reader, as do passive tags. Typical frequencies of operation of RF tags range from as low as 125 KHz to 13.56 MHz and to as high as 2.4 GHz, although other frequencies are possible. It should be noted that whereas the term “radio frequency” is considered by some to include only the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum between 9000 Hz and 3000 GHz, this term, as used and intended in the present disclosure, is meant to include any appropriate portion of the electromagnetic spectrum whether within or outside this range.
  • [0024]
    With this background in mind, reference will now be made in more detail to the drawings, in which like numerals refer to like parts throughout the several views. FIG. 1 is a diagramatical plan view of an automotive dealership 11 having a showroom 12 surrounded by a paved lot 13. The lot 13 is partitioned into a number of discrete areas referred to herein as zones with each zone representing a region of the lot where vehicles may be It located from time to time. Zone 1, for example may be a parking area of the lot where vehicles are displayed for sale. Zone 2 may be an additional parking area or perhaps a fueling or washing area while Zone 3 may be a service staging area and Zone 4 a service facility. Obviously, a lot may be subdivided into more or fewer zones than those illustrated in FIG. 1 and the zones may correspond to any number of types of regions where vehicles may be located. Also, Zone 5 may be considered to be the region outside the lot and off the premises of the dealership. The various zones of the lot 13 are separated by transition regions, designated by the capital letter T in FIG. 1.
  • [0025]
    A Key Track system 21 as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,801,628 is located in the showroom 12 of the dealership 11. In general, the Key Track system comprises one or more storage drawers 22 for storing keys and from which keys may be checked out and checked back in. A computer or microprocessor based central controller 23 is coupled to the storage drawer 22 as described in said patent. In general, the controller 23 receives requests from users for keys, opens the drawer 22 if the request is from an authorized user, and logs when keys are removed from and returned to the storage drawer.
  • [0026]
    An RF tag reader is located at each transition region T separating the various zones of the lot. For example, RF tag reader 28 is located in the transition region T from Zone 2 to Zone 1, reader 33 is located in the transition region T from Zone 1 to Zone 2, reader 38 is located in the transition region between Zones 2 and 3, Reader 43 is located in the transition region between Zones 3 and 4, and reader 49 is located in the transition region, which is the lot exit, between Zones 1 and 5, outside the lot. RF tag reader 28 comprises a pair of loop antennas 29 and 31 respectively, which preferably are buried in the pavement of the lot in the transition region T. Alternatively, the antennas can be located in vertical upstanding pylons or in an overhead structure, but burial beneath the pavement is preferred and is considered to be the best mode of practicing the invention because the antenna is more secure, more tamper resistant, and hidden from view.
  • [0027]
    The loop antennas 29 and 31 are connected to a local controller 32, which is configured to energize the antennas, to transmit and receive modulated radio frequency signals therefrom, and to demodulate received signals to extract data, such as identifying codes, received by the antennas. Similarly, reader 33 includes buried loop antennas 34 and 36 connected to local controller 37, reader 38 includes buried loop antennas 39 and 41 connected to a local controller 42, reader 43 includes loop antennas 44 and 46 connected to local controller 47, and reader 48 includes buried loop antennas 49 and 51 connected to local controller 52.
  • [0028]
    The local controllers 32, 37, 42, 47, and 52 are electronically coupled through appropriate communications links, generally indicated by dashed lines and the reference numeral 56, to the central controller 23 of the Key Track system 21. As mentioned above, the communications links can be any of a number of connections appropriate for bi-directional communication between the local controllers and the central controller 23. Data transmission links, protocols, and techniques are well know to those of skill in the art and need not be described in detail here. A more detailed description of one type of data transmission technique that may be applicable to this invention is disclosed in the incorporated disclosure of U.S. Pat. No. 5,801,628. By means of the communications links 56, the various local controllers are able to transmit data and information to the central controller 23 and the central controller 23 can transmit data and information to the local controllers.
  • [0029]
    A vehicle, generally indicated at 24, is shown on the lot 13 and is arbitrarily located in Zone 1 of the lot. While only one vehicle is illustrated in FIG. 1 for clarity, it will be understood that a dealership may house dozens or hundreds of vehicles and that the present invention applies equally to large numbers of vehicles on the lot. The vehicle 24 is provided with one or more, and preferably a pair, of RF tags referred to with the reference numerals 26 and 27 in FIG. 1. RF tag 26 is attached to the front of the vehicle while RF tag 27 is attached to the rear of the vehicle. Several physical locations for attaching the RF tags are envisioned. In general, locations that offer easy installation of tags, that are not obvious to the casual viewer, and that make it difficult to remove the tags are desirable. Potential locations include on plastic wheel wells inside the engine compartment, on fiberglass bumpers or other non-metal body parts, or embedded within rubber tires. In general, RF tags need to be placed on non-metallic surfaces; however, at least one manufacturer of RF tags reports tag functionality in close proximity to metal surfaces such as steel I-beams.
  • [0030]
    The system illustrated in FIG. 1 may be configured to carry out the method of the present invention, in one embodiment thereof, as described below. It should be understood that while each transition region T in FIG. 1 is illustrated with a pair of buried antennas and the vehicle is illustrated with a pair of RF tags, the invention also contemplates the use of a single antenna at each transition zone and/or a single RF tag on each vehicle or any combination thereof. These various configurations are described in more detail below.
  • [0031]
    When a salesperson or other authorized user desires to access a vehicle on the lot for purposes, for example, of a test drive, maintenance, cleaning, etc., the Key Track system 21 is used as described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,801,628 to retrieve the key to the vehicle. In general, the user enters his or her identification number into the central controller 23 and identifies the vehicle for which access is desired. If the user is authorized to have access to the vehicle, the Key Track system unlocks the storage drawer 22 and indicates to the user which slot within the drawer the key is located. The user then takes the key, whereupon the central controller 21 notes the time the key was taken and the identity of the user who took it.
  • [0032]
    The user then uses the key to access the vehicle 24. As the vehicle is driven about or off of the lot 13, the readers in the various transition regions detect movement of the vehicle past each transition region by receiving the unique code of the vehicle from the RF tag or tags 26 and 27 on the vehicle. This information is transmitted via the communications links 56 back to the central controller 21. The central controller may use the information to make a variety of decisions each time movement of the vehicle past a transition zone is detected. For example, if the user is a member of the maintenance crew, that user may be authorized to move the vehicle only within the bounds of the lot 13 and into Zone 4 for maintenance. In this event, if the central controller receives the vehicles identification code from local controller 52 at the exit portal 50, a decision may be made that the user who checked out the key to the vehicle is not authorized to remove the vehicle from the lot. The central controller may then generate appropriate alarms and/or send instructions back to the local controller 52 via the communications link 56 instructing it not to open the exit gate. In this way, users not authorized to remove vehicles from the lot are prevented from doing so. The system also is uniquely suited to provide automatic security without gates. For example, if a vehicle is detected approaching an exit and the Key Track system determines that the key to the vehicle has not been checked out of the Key Track system, then a possible theft can be considered to be in progress and alarms can be sounded, a signal can be sent to the RF tag on the vehicle to disable the vehicle, etc. Thus, theft of vehicles on the lot is virtually eliminated.
  • [0033]
    If the user stays within the lot, the central controller receives data from the local controllers as the vehicle passes each transition zone. The central controller can then create logs of vehicle movement from zone to zone, locate the vehicle in a particular zone if its whereabouts in desired, and create reports useful to the dealership such as, for example, maintenance schedules, times required for maintenance, etc. When the user finishes with the vehicle, the key is returned to the Key Track system 21, which notes that the key has been checked back in and its location within the storage drawer
  • [0034]
    In another example, a salesperson may retrieve a key from the Key Track system to access a vehicle for a test drive. Since this user is authorized to remove the vehicle from the lot, detection of the vehicle approaching the exit portal 50 will result in an instruction from the central controller to open the gate to allow the vehicle to be removed from the lot. If there is no gate at the exit, which usually is the case, the vehicle will simply be allowed to exit without an alarm being generated. When the vehicle returns, it is again detected entering the exit portal and this information is transmitted via the communications link 56 to the central controller 23. From information such as this, the central controller can track the whereabouts of the vehicle, compile useful reports regarding, for example, average lengths of test drives for each salesperson, ratios of sales to number of test drives for salespersons, and the like, and provide security against unauthorized use or theft.
  • [0035]
    Some specific examples of applications of the present invention in the context of an automotive dealership will be described in more detail with reference to FIGS. 2 through 5. In general, however, it will be seen that the method and system of this invention allows tracking not only of the check out and check in of keys to vehicles, but also of the movement of vehicles about and off of the lot. A substantially-enhanced level of tracking, control, and security is therefore possible. The zone in which each vehicle resides on the lot is known by the central controller at all times and this information can be conveyed to a user when a key is checked out so that the vehicle can be located quickly on the lot.
  • [0036]
    Further, while the zonal transition approach can be applied on a macro scale as indicated in FIG. 1 wherein several vehicles can be located in a zone, it also can be applied on a micro scale or a combination of macro and micro scales if desired. In a micro configuration of the invention, zones can be defined such that each zone can contain only one vehicle. For example, micro zones might be defined as individual parking spaces on the dealership lot with each parking space being provided with its own RF tag reader. The readers at each micro zone are be in continuous communication with vehicles located in the various parking spaces and transmit this information to the central controller. In this way, the precise location of vehicles can be determined as well as detailed logs of when vehicles are removed from parking spaces, when and in which parking space they are returned, and their movements about or off of the lot in the interim. In this regard, a micro zonal configuration of the invention is in some respects an extension of the Key Track system itself wherein the objects being tracked are keys rather than vehicles and each micro zone corresponds to a slot in the storage drawer. Any combination of micro and macro zones can be established.
  • [0037]
    The antennae, sometimes called the sensors, of the RF readers most preferably are controlled by their respective local controllers, which also may be embedded or buried beneath the surface, instead of being connected directly through a “dumb” local interface to the central controller. The control functionality is distributed to the local level to insure continued functionality if the data link to the central controller of the Key Track system is disrupted. Further, the local controller is better able to sense tampering with the reader system. For example, if an antenna of a reader is cut or disconnected, the resultant change in impedance can be detected easily by the local controller whereas the central controller connected through a dumb interface likely would only see no signals from the antenna and the system would be vulnerable to defeat by tampering.
  • [0038]
    In a configuration where active two way RF tags are attached to vehicles, smart local controllers can send data and information to the active RF tags. This allows a local controller whose link to the central controller may be disrupted to attempt to transmit data by “piggybacking” on RF tags; i.e., storing information for the central controller on an RF tag for being conveyed to the central controller when the tag is encountered by a subsequent reader. In addition, active RF tags make possible an embodiment of the invention wherein ID markers are positioned in the lot at various locations and are “read” by the active tags as vehicles carrying the tags pass over the markers in moving about the lot. The RF tags themselves are then responsible for transmitting location information directly via radio frequency transmission to the central controller. In a broader sense, the use of RF tags that can receive and store information gives rise to the possibility of a “virtual network” wherein information can be transmitted to and stored on the ID tags themselves for reading at a later time by another reader at another location. Service history, for example, might be stored and automatically read each time a vehicle is presented at a service center for maintenance or service.
  • [0039]
    Since the local controller in the preferred embodiment is in real-time communication with RF tags passing its antenna, it can send information to the tags, the central controller, and/or directly to activate ancillary equipment such as, for example, security devices and alarms and video and/or audio capturing equipment. This is a powerful attribute of the present invention. For example, if a series of captured video frames of vehicles traversing a portal are OCR processed, the license plate of vehicles with inoperable or no RF tags can be noted (presumably some other sensor such as a laser beam indicating a portal transition would alert the central controller, which would determine that a vehicle traversed the portal but no signal was received from an RF tag). Cross linking to license plate databases to note potential prospects who were not helped by a sales professional would provide extremely useful information to the dealership. Accordingly, it will be seen that the potential to monitor and adjust the day-to-day operation of the dealership can be enhanced significantly through application of the present invention.
  • [0040]
    [0040]FIG. 2 illustrates in more detail a transition region T between two zones, Zone 1 and Zone 2, within a dealership parking lot. Preferably, but not necessarily, the transition region T is bordered by curbs or other barriers 61 to force vehicles to traverse the transition region T at the proper location. A pair of spaced apart loop antennas 63 and 64 are embedded or buried within the pavement 62 at the transition zone T. The antennae are connected by appropriate cabling 66 and 67 respectively to a local controller 68, which also may be buried if desired. The local controller 68, in turn, is connected via the communications link 56 to the central controller 23, which preferably is part of a Key Track system.
  • [0041]
    As a vehicle bearing one or more RF tags moves from Zone 1 to Zone 2, it traverses the transition region T and passes over the antennae 63 and 64. The RF tag is activated by and, in the case of a passive tag, draws power from the field generated by the antennae and transmits its unique code, which is detected by the antennae, demodulated by the local controller 68, and conveyed via communications link 56 to the central controller for processing. The central controller then interprets the data to determine that the vehicle corresponding to the code is passing from Zone 1 to Zone 2. Movement of vehicles from zone to zone is thus tracked and monitored. FIG. 2 illustrates the tag reader with a pair of spaced antennae or sensors buried in the pavement. While this is a preferred configuration for purposes of system robustness, as detailed below, a single antenna may also be used with similar, albeit less robust, results.
  • [0042]
    [0042]FIG. 3 illustrates a particular application of the system and method of the invention applied to a fueling station at an automobile dealership. A fueling pump 73 is stationed by a curb 71 for delivering fuel to vehicles. A pair of antennas 74 and 76 are embedded within the pavement 72 adjacent the pump 73. The antennae are connected via appropriate cabling 77 and 78 respectively to a local controller 79 which is coupled through communications link 81 to central controller 23. The pump 73 is provided with a pump controller 82, which includes a switch for activating the pump and may also include circuitry for capturing information from the pump such as, for example, the amount of fuel pumped at a filling, and conveying this information back to the local controller 79 for transmission to the central controller 23. When a vehicle approaches the fuel pump 73 for fueling, the unique code of its RF tag is captured and transmitted by the local controller to the central controller. The central controller then checks its Key Track logs to confirm that the user who checked out the keys to the vehicle is authorized to fuel the vehicle. If not, the central controller may transmit an instruction to the local controller not to activate the pump and may also generate appropriate alarms to indicate an inappropriate fueling attempt.
  • [0043]
    If the user is authorized to fuel the vehicle, the central controller may issue instructions to the local controller to activate the pump, whereupon a signal is sent from the local controller to the pump controller to allow the pump to be operated. When fueling is complete, the pump controller may convey to the local controller information regarding the amount of fuel used and this information is conveyed back to the central controller. Alternatively, the initial instruction to the pump controller may be to pump only a predetermined amount of fuel. Thus, unauthorized fueling is prevented and fuel usage can be monitored and controlled on an individual vehicle level to insure the most efficient use of fuel in the daily operation of the dealership. Preferably, the two antennae adjacent to the pump are spaced such that each must receive a code from a respective RF tag on the vehicle to authorize pumping. This ensures that the vehicle is properly positioned for fueling and prevents fraud by, for example, stationing one vehicle with one of its RF tags over an antenna while backing an unauthorized vehicle up to the pump for illicit fueling.
  • [0044]
    [0044]FIG. 4 illustrates application of the invention at an exit portal of the dealership lot to monitor and control the comings and goings of vehicles from the lot. The exit portal is bordered by curbs 89 and an antenna 91 is embedded within the pavement 92 of the portal. The antenna is connected by cabling 93 to the local controller 94, which is coupled through communications link 96 to the central Key Track controller 23. The local controller is also connected by cabling 97 to a gate control 88, which can be activated to raise and lower a gate 87 to allow or prevent a vehicle from passing through the exit 86. The local controller 94 may also be connected to receive information from a key pad 101, which can be conveniently located on a key pad pedestal 98.
  • [0045]
    In operation, as a vehicle approaches the exit, the unique code of its RF tag is transmitted to the local controller 94 and conveyed to the central controller 23. The central controller consults its Key Track logs to determine the identity of the user who checked out keys to the vehicle. If the user is not authorized to remove the vehicle from the lot, the central controller may generate appropriate alarms and convey instructions to the local controller not to open gate, thereby preventing unauthorized removal of the vehicle from the lot. If the user is authorized to remove the vehicle from the lot, the central controller may transmit instructions to the local led controller to open the gate, whereupon an appropriate instruction is transmitted to the gate control 88 to open the gate 87 and allow the vehicle to leave the lot.
  • [0046]
    The user may also be required to enter a PIN number into the key pad as a final confirmation that the vehicle is properly being removed from the lot. The PIN number is communicated to the local controller via cabling 99 and, possibly, on to the central controller 23. Only if it is determined that the vehicle is authorized to leave the lot, that the person who checked out the keys is authorized to take the vehicle off the lot, and the appropriate PIN number is entered will the gate be opened. Accordingly, in the event, for example, that a would be thief disables a salesman and attempts to remove a vehicle from the lot, the thief will not be able to drive the vehicle off the lot because the appropriate PIN number will not be entered. Such a system may also be used in other situations such as, for example, at the exits from an apartment complex to prevent vehicles of tenants from being stolen by requiring both a proper identification of the vehicle through its RF tag and the proper PIN number before a gate is opened.
  • [0047]
    [0047]FIG. 5 will now be referenced as the foundation of a discussion of the various configurations of readers and RF tags and the advantages of each configuration. FIG. 5 illustrates a transition region T disposed between two adjoining zones, Zone 1 and Zone 2, on the lot of an automobile dealership. A pair of spaced apart antennas 108 and 109 are embedded within the pavement 107 in the transition region T and each is connected by cabling 111 and 112 respectively to a local controller 113. The local controller 113 is coupled through communications link 114 to a central Key Track controller 23. A vehicle 116, indicated generally by phantom lines for clarity, is seen approaching the transition region T in direction 124 from Zone 1 toward Zone 2. The vehicle 116 is provided with a forward RF tag 117, which includes an antenna 118 connected to an integrated circuit chip 119 containing the encoding, decoding, control, and memory circuits of the RF tag. A rear RF tag 121 is provided at the back of the vehicle and includes an antenna 122 connected to an integrated circuit chip 123. The RF tags are shown very much larger than their typical actual size for clarity of illustration. In reality, RF tags can be as small as a postage stamp or even smaller and are easily attached and hidden on the vehicle. In the case of smaller tags, the reader antenna can be larger to maintain operating range.
  • [0048]
    [0048]FIG. 5 shows a reader with two embedded antennae and two RF tags on the vehicle. However, the invention contemplates multiple variations and combinations of reader antennae and RF tags including a single reader antenna and single RF tag, double reader antennae and a single RF tag, and the double reader antenna double RF tag configuration illustrated in FIG. 5. The simplest of these configurations is a single reader antenna and a single RF tag on the vehicle. With such a configuration, as the vehicle moves from one zone to an adjacent zone, it is confined to pass through the transition region T and over the reader antenna embedded in the pavement thereof. As the RF tag on the vehicle enters the field created by the reader antenna, it is activated by the field and transmits its unique code as described above and the code is received by the reader antenna and ultimately conveyed to the central controller. The RF tag may also accept and store information, which can be read by other readers on site or at another location. For example, RF tags might store information regarding the history of a vehicle's progress through the manufacturing plant, shipping channels, dealerships, and ultimately to a customer.
  • [0049]
    Since only a single reader antenna and a single RF tag is used, the central controller's vehicle tracking routines must rely on past history data to extrapolate and update the location of the vehicle. More specifically, since the last logged location of the vehicle (FIG. 5) is known to be in Zone 1, and since it is now being detected in the transition region T separating Zone 1 and Zone 2, a conclusion may be made that the vehicle can now be considered to be in Zone 2 until again detected at a transition region. While such a system is relatively simple, it lacks a degree of rigor that is desired in many situations. For example, if the history data is corrupt and the vehicle is not in reality in the region that the central controller thinks it is, then an inaccurate conclusion as to the new location of the vehicle may be made or an error condition may be generated. Error conditions may also be created if, for example, a vehicle begins to pass through a transition region and then is reversed and backed into its original Zone.
  • [0050]
    It can thus be seen that while the single reader/single tag configuration may be useful in some situations, it can be subject to mistakes and errors that may not always be acceptable. One reason that errors may be generated is because, with a single reader and a single tag, no information is available to the system regarding the direction in which the vehicle is traversing the transition region. Only the location of the vehicle at the transition can be determined.
  • [0051]
    A more rigorous configuration of the invention is realized by the use of two spaced reader antennas embedded in the pavement at the transition region and a single RF tag attached to a vehicle. As the vehicle traverses the transition region, the first reader antenna encounters and activates the RF tag and reads its unique code, which is conveyed to the central controller. At this point, the second reader antenna cannot read the transmitted code because of the physical separation of the reader antennas. Eventually, the RF tag moves with the vehicle out of the range of the first reader antenna and enters the range of the second reader antenna. The RF tag is energized a second time by the second antenna and transmits its unique code, which is received by the second antenna.
  • [0052]
    It will thus be seen that the local controller first receives the code from its first reader antenna and then receives the code from its second reader antenna. With this information, the central controller (or the local controller for that matter) can safely conclude that since the vehicle traversed the transition region in a direction from the first reader antenna toward the second reader antenna, the vehicle moved from Zone 1 into Zone 2. Since no reliance is made on knowledge of where the vehicle was located prior to its traversal of the transition region, a two reader antenna/one RF tag configuration provides more rigor and is less susceptible to error and inaccurate location that the single reader antenna/single RF tag configuration. In fact, since the new Zone and transition region traversed are safely known, if the location history data base is corrupted or contains data inconsistent with this determination, an error or suspicious condition can be flagged. A log of such suspicious conditions can then be examined by key personnel to determine if a pattern suggests that a particular reader is faulty or someone has tampered with the readers or RF tags. Thus, this configuration is substantially more reliable than the simple one reader/one RF tag configuration.
  • [0053]
    Another more rigorous configuration of the invention is the one reader antenna/two RF tag configuration wherein two RF tags are placed on each vehicle and one reader antenna is embedded in a transition zone. Such an arrangement is feasible for use with vehicles since a typical car or truck is relatively large and the RF tags can be spaced apart a distance larger, and preferably at least twice as large, as the operating range of the reader antennae. With such a configuration, as a vehicle traverses a transition region, the RF tag on the front end of the vehicle encounters the reader antenna and transmits its code followed by the RF tag on the rear of the vehicle. The local controller, or alternatively the central controller, can access its data base to identify the vehicle provided with the codes of the two RF tags and which of the two codes corresponded to the forward RF tag and which to the rear RF tag.
  • [0054]
    Thus, the direction of traversal of the transition region is reliably determined from the encounter. If the vehicle stops in the transition region and reverses course, either only 1 of the tags is read or the first tag's code is received twice with the second tag being read only once or not at all. From this information, the activity of the vehicle in the transition region can be determined. However, in such a situation, since the direction of traversal is not obtainable from the data, previous zone information still is needed to extrapolate the zone in which the vehicle is now considered to be located. While periodic database inventory checks can mitigate the potential uncertainties of relying on previous zone information, the potential for errors still exists.
  • [0055]
    The most rigorous configuration of the invention is the two reader antenna/two RF tag configuration illustrated in FIG. 5. Such a configuration eliminates reliance on previous zone information and also provides a level of redundancy that enhances the reliability of the system. For example, consider when a vehicle traverses a transition region T between Zone 1 to Zone 2. As the vehicle moves through the transition region, the first reader antenna interrogates the first RF tag and then the second RF tag. The second reader antenna also interrogates the first and then the second RF tag, although this pair of interrogations occur later in time than the interrogations by the first reader antenna. The local and/or the central controller can then determine, based on various combinations of this data, that a particular vehicle passed in a particular direction into a Zone adjacent to the transition region. Thus, the precise zonal location of each vehicle can be known at all times.
  • [0056]
    Further, because more data is collected than the minimum required, the extra data provides a level of redundancy. For example, of one reader antenna malfunctions, the local controller can process the received information as if the system were configured as a two RF tag/one antenna system as discussed above. Similarly, if one of the RF tags malfunctions, the local controller can process the information as in a one RF tag/two reader antenna configuration. Finally, if both a reader antenna and an RF tag malfunctions, then the data can be processed as if the system were configured in a one reader antenna/one RF tag system. Such redundancy allows the local controller to continue to track zonal transitions and update the position database with different levels of confidence and also allows for the detection and logging of system malfunctions observed during each traversal of a transition region by a tagged vehicle. Defective RF tags can be flagged for replacement and faulty readers flagged for periodic maintenance.
  • [0057]
    In addition to providing direction of traversal information, a configuration incorporating two reader antennae can also estimate the speed at which the vehicle traversed the transition zone or passed the reader. Such information can be helpful in controlling speeding within a lot or other designated area.
  • [0058]
    Instead of requiring a relatively large physical separation between RF tags in multiple RF tag configurations, the two RF tags can alternatively be selected to operate at different radio frequencies. This allows the RF tags to be located closer together than the range of the reader antenna to a large degree. However, a key to a dual RF tag approach is the exploitation of the order in which the RF tags are encountered to determine direction of travel. Therefore, in multiple frequency systems, the area of non-overlap must remain large enough to allow sufficient communication time before the overlap region is encountered. In reality, the size of the non-overlap region does not need to be very large because RF tag technology allows RF tags to be interrogated in much less that 0.1 second. Obviously, the size of the region of non-overlap is determined to some degree by the speed at which vehicles traverse transition regions, but in a dealership situation, these speeds tend to be relatively low and do not present an obstacle to close placement of the RF tags on vehicles.
  • [0059]
    Also, communication strategies exist that allow two closely spaced RF tags operating on the same frequency and both within a reader antenna's range to be interrogated. These communication strategies allow the readers to communicate with multiple RF tags in their range of operation. Generally, these strategies require one reader antenna to be designated master and the other the slave. Only one antenna, the master, issues a request for RF tags to relay codes to both receiving antennas (master and slave).
  • [0060]
    The invention has been described herein within the context of the tracking and control of keys and vehicles at an automobile dealership. While this is a preferred embodiment of the invention and represents what is considered to be the best mode of carrying out the invention, the invention is far from limited to such a context and has a wide variety of applications outside automotive dealerships. For example, there exists a critical need within certain organizations such as classified government installations, hospitals, and the like to control access to and tracking of the location of confidential or classified files. The present invention can be applied to these situations to, for example, prevent classified files from being removed from specified locations by persons not authorized to remove them. Here, the files themselves are provided with RF tags and correspond to the vehicles of the preferred embodiment and the designated rooms (file rooms, review areas, and the like) correspond to the various zones. Locking doors controllable by the central controller preferably are provided at the transitions between rooms and only unlocked if an individual attempting to move a file from one room to another has authority to do so.
  • [0061]
    Another application is the tracking of personnel in automotive dealerships or otherwise. In such a scenario, an arm band might contain an RF tag. Readers located at key doorways and/or key locations interrogate the tags of personnel moving through the doorways to track the location of personnel at all times. Personnel passing through certain designated doorways, e.g. sensitive area entrances or exits, might activate appropriate alarms.
  • [0062]
    Similarly, children in schools can be tracked by issuing ID badges bearing RF tags to each child and adult. The passage of individuals through key portals is detected by readers located at these portals. Secondary sensors note the passage of individuals and if no RF tag is read, then alarms can be generated to indicate that a non-badged individual passed through the portal.
  • [0063]
    Factories have problems with workers clocking in and then not going to their assigned work areas. Worker ID badges bearing RF tags and readers at portals to work areas can be employed to track workers and insure that they are at their designated stations. These and other applications of the object tracking and control system of this invention are possible and all are envisioned to be within the scope of the invention as set forth in the claims.

Claims (40)

    What is claimed is:
  1. 1. A system for tracking the movement of objects in a predefined area, said system comprising:
    a central controller;
    a readable tag on each object to be tracked, each readable tag storing a code identifying its corresponding object;
    readers at preselected locations within said predefined area for reading the codes of said readable tags as the objects corresponding to said readable tags move past said readers;
    a communications link between said readers and said central controller for communication of codes read by said readers to said central controller;
    said controller being programmed to collect data from said readers for tracking the movement of objects within the predefined area.
  2. 2. A system for tracking the movement of objects as claimed in claim 1, wherein said readable tags are radio frequency (RF) tags.
  3. 3. A system for tracking the movement of objects as claimed in claim 2, wherein said readable tags are passive RF tags and are triggered by said readers to transmit their codes.
  4. 4. A system for tracking the movement of objects as claimed in claim 2, wherein said readable tags are active RF tags.
  5. 5. A system for tracking the movement of objects as claimed in claim 1, wherein said readers include embedded antennas.
  6. 6. A system for tracking the movement of objects as claimed in claim 5, wherein said readers further include local controllers connected to said antennas, said local controllers extracting codes received by said antennas and conveying extracted codes to said central controller.
  7. 7. A system for tracking the movement of objects as claimed in claim 5, wherein said antennas are loop antennas.
  8. 8. A system for tracking the movement of objects as claimed in claim 5, further comprising at least two antennas disposed in each selected location, said central controller being programmed to determine the direction of movement of a tagged object by analyzing data collected from said antennas.
  9. 9. A system for tracking the movement of objects as claimed in claim 2 and further comprising at least two RF tags disposed in each object , said central controller being programmed to determine the direction of movement of the object by analyzing data collected by said readers from said at least two RF tags.
  10. 10. A system for tracking the movement of objects as claimed in claim 1 and wherein said preselected locations within said area correspond to transition regions between zones of said area and wherein said central controller is programmed to determine movement of objects from one zone to an adjacent zone by analyzing data collected by said readers as objects traverse said transition regions.
  11. 11. A system for tracking the movement of objects as claimed in claim 1 and wherein said data network comprises local controllers coupled to said readers and a communications link for transmitting data between said local controllers and said central controller.
  12. 12. A system for tracking the movement of objects as claimed in claim 1 and further comprising at least one Key Track system having a central controller, said data network connecting said readers to said Key Track central controller for integration of data from said readers with data from said Key Track system.
  13. 13. A system for tracking the movement of objects as claimed in claim 12, wherein said Key Track system is configured to detect removal and return of keys providing access to the objects.
  14. 14. A system for tracking the movement of objects as claimed in claim 12, further comprising means for generating reports on the movement of objects being tracked based on data from said readers and data from said Key Track system.
  15. 15. A method of tracking the movement of an object between predetermined zones within an area, said method comprising the steps of:
    (a) establishing transition regions between the predetermined zones;
    (b) detecting the object as the object traverses a transition region;
    (c) identifying the object as it is detected traversing the transition region in step (b); and
    (d) determining the zone in which the object is located based upon the detection and identification of the object in steps (b) and (c).
  16. 16. The method of claim 15 and wherein step (d) includes determining the zone in which the object is located by analyzing information indicative of the zone in which the object was last located and information derived from the detection and identification of the object in steps (b) and (c).
  17. 17. The method of claim 15 and wherein step (b) comprises detecting the direction in which the object traverses the transition region and wherein step (d) includes determining the zone in which the object is located by analyzing the direction in which the object traversed the transition region.
  18. 18. The method of claim 15 and wherein step (b) comprises providing the object with a readable tag and locating a reader in the transition region for reading the readable tag as the object traverses the transition region.
  19. 19. The method of claim 18 and wherein the readable tag is an RF tag and wherein the reader includes at least one antenna for receiving RF signals transmitted by the RF tag.
  20. 20. The method of claim 19 and further comprising providing the object with at least two RF tags readable by the reader for determining the direction in which the object traverses the transition region.
  21. 21. The method of claim 20 and wherein the at least two RF tags are spaced apart on the object to be read in sequence by the reader for determining the direction in which the object traverses the transition region.
  22. 22. The method of claim 20 and wherein the at least two RF tags transmit signals at different radio frequencies for determining the direction in which the object traverses the transition region.
  23. 23. The method of claim 19 and further comprising providing at least two readers at the transition region for determining the direction in which the object traverses the transition region.
  24. 24. The method of claim 23 and wherein the step of providing at least two readers includes locating at least two antenna at the transition region, each antenna receiving RF signals from a tag on the object as the object traverses the transition region.
  25. 25. The method of claim 24 and wherein the at least two antenna are spaced apart in the transition region for receiving a signal from the RF tag on the object in sequence as the object traverses the transition region.
  26. 26. The method of claim 25 and further comprising the step of providing at least two RF tags on the object, the at least two RF tags transmitting information to the at least two antenna as the object traverses the transition region.
  27. 27. A system for tracking and controlling the movement of objects in a predefined area comprising:
    a central controller;
    an array of readers disposed at preselected locations in the predefined area, said readers being in communication with said central controller;
    a readable tag on each of the objects, each readable tag storing a code identifying its corresponding object;
    said codes of said readable tags being detected by said readers as objects move past said readers and being communicated to said central controller;
    said central controller being programmed to determine the location of each object by analyzing the codes communicated by said readers.
  28. 29. A system for tracking and controlling the movement of objects as claimed in claim 27 and wherein said readable tags comprise RF tags for transmitting said codes via radio frequency transmission.
  29. 30. A system for tracking and controlling the movement of objects as claimed in claim 29 and wherein said readers include antenna for receiving codes transmitted by said RF tags and a local controller for extracting the codes from received transmissions and communicating the extracted codes to the central controller.
  30. 31. A system for tracking and controlling the movement of objects as claimed in claim 30 and further comprising providing each object with at least two RF tags for determining the direction in which the objects traverse said transition regions.
  31. 32. A system for tracking and controlling the movement of objects as claimed in claim 30 and wherein each reader includes at least two antennae for determining the direction in which the objects traverse said transition regions.
  32. 33. A system for tracking and controlling the movement of objects as claimed in claim 32 and wherein each object is provided with at least two RF tags.
  33. 34. A system for tracking and controlling the movement of objects as claimed in claim 27 and wherein the objects are vehicles and the predefined area is the lot of an automobile dealership.
  34. 35. A system for tracking and controlling the movement of objects as claimed in claim 34 and further comprising a Key Track system located at the automobile dealership, said central controller being a part of the Key Track system and having access to information regarding the check out and check in of keys to vehicles at the automobile dealership.
  35. 36. A system for tracking and controlling the movement of objects as claimed in claim 35 and wherein said central controller is programmed to analyze information regarding the check out and check in of keys and to integrate such information with information communicated by said readers and to reach conclusions regarding authorized movements of vehicles based on said analysis.
  36. 37. The system of claim 36 and wherein said central controller uses the integrated information to authorize movement of vehicles.
  37. 38. In a Key Track system for tracking the check out and check in of keys providing access to objects, the improvement comprising means for tracking movement of each object in the interim between check out of the key to the object and check in of the key to the object.
  38. 39. The improvement of claim 38 and wherein the objects are vehicles and wherein said means for tracking movement of each object comprises a readable tag on each vehicle and tag readers at preselected locations within the region of movement of the vehicles.
  39. 40. The improvement of claim 39 and wherein said readable tags are RF tags and said readers include antenna for receiving RF signals transmitted by said tags as the vehicles move past said readers.
  40. 41. The improvement of claim 40 and wherein the region of movement of the vehicles is a lot, said lot being subdivided into predetermined zones separated by transition regions and said readers being disposed at said transition regions.
US10172291 1998-09-11 2002-06-14 Object control and tracking system with zonal transition detection Abandoned US20020153418A1 (en)

Priority Applications (3)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US9995498 true 1998-09-11 1998-09-11
US09392267 US6427913B1 (en) 1998-09-11 1999-09-09 Object control and tracking system with zonal transition detection
US10172291 US20020153418A1 (en) 1998-09-11 2002-06-14 Object control and tracking system with zonal transition detection

Applications Claiming Priority (3)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US10172291 US20020153418A1 (en) 1998-09-11 2002-06-14 Object control and tracking system with zonal transition detection
US10459792 US20030201321A1 (en) 1998-09-11 2003-06-12 Object control and tracking system with zonal transition detection
US10944324 US20050040232A1 (en) 1998-09-11 2004-09-16 Object control and tracking system with zonal transition detection

Related Parent Applications (1)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
US09392267 Continuation US6427913B1 (en) 1998-09-11 1999-09-09 Object control and tracking system with zonal transition detection

Related Child Applications (1)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
US10459792 Continuation US20030201321A1 (en) 1998-09-11 2003-06-12 Object control and tracking system with zonal transition detection

Publications (1)

Publication Number Publication Date
US20020153418A1 true true US20020153418A1 (en) 2002-10-24

Family

ID=26796671

Family Applications (4)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
US09392267 Active US6427913B1 (en) 1998-09-11 1999-09-09 Object control and tracking system with zonal transition detection
US10172291 Abandoned US20020153418A1 (en) 1998-09-11 2002-06-14 Object control and tracking system with zonal transition detection
US10459792 Abandoned US20030201321A1 (en) 1998-09-11 2003-06-12 Object control and tracking system with zonal transition detection
US10944324 Abandoned US20050040232A1 (en) 1998-09-11 2004-09-16 Object control and tracking system with zonal transition detection

Family Applications Before (1)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
US09392267 Active US6427913B1 (en) 1998-09-11 1999-09-09 Object control and tracking system with zonal transition detection

Family Applications After (2)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
US10459792 Abandoned US20030201321A1 (en) 1998-09-11 2003-06-12 Object control and tracking system with zonal transition detection
US10944324 Abandoned US20050040232A1 (en) 1998-09-11 2004-09-16 Object control and tracking system with zonal transition detection

Country Status (4)

Country Link
US (4) US6427913B1 (en)
EP (1) EP1121812A4 (en)
CA (1) CA2343412A1 (en)
WO (1) WO2000016564A1 (en)

Cited By (34)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20040041695A1 (en) * 2002-08-30 2004-03-04 Reining William N. Method for communication between central terminal and multiple transponders
US20040150508A1 (en) * 2003-01-31 2004-08-05 General Electric Company System for managing physical assets
US20040210757A1 (en) * 2003-01-23 2004-10-21 Noam Kogan Method and a system for unauthorized vehicle control
US20050062484A1 (en) * 2003-09-12 2005-03-24 Reining William N. Method and apparatus for metal target proximity detection at long distances
EP1533767A1 (en) * 2003-11-24 2005-05-25 BLACK & DECKER INC. Wireless asset monitoring and security system
WO2005088859A1 (en) * 2004-03-15 2005-09-22 Siemens Ag Österreich Close-range data transmission with lower data transfer rates using a suitable electrical stray field
US20050284934A1 (en) * 2004-06-23 2005-12-29 Sap Aktiengesellschaft Methods and system for managing stock
US7042334B2 (en) 2003-01-31 2006-05-09 General Electric Company Methods for managing access to physical assets
US7049942B2 (en) 2003-07-07 2006-05-23 Jason Gallovich Method and system for preventing vehicle thefts
US20080103966A1 (en) * 2006-10-31 2008-05-01 Chuck Foster System and/or method for dynamic determination of transaction processing fees
US20080103965A1 (en) * 2006-10-31 2008-05-01 Chuck Foster Just in time transactions
US20080114691A1 (en) * 2006-10-31 2008-05-15 Chuck Foster Processing transactions
US20080114684A1 (en) * 2006-10-31 2008-05-15 Chuck Foster Termination of transactions
US20080180489A1 (en) * 2006-10-02 2008-07-31 Seiko Epson Corporation Droplet discharging head and method of manufacturing the same, and droplet discharging device and method of manufacturing the same
US20090237219A1 (en) * 2008-03-21 2009-09-24 Berlin Bradley M Security apparatus, system and method of using same
FR2936389A1 (en) * 2008-09-23 2010-03-26 Univ Paris 13 System and method for detection of at least one object with a tag.
US7808371B2 (en) 2006-10-03 2010-10-05 2862-8030 Quebec Inc. Vehicle fleet security system
US20100325550A1 (en) * 2009-06-17 2010-12-23 Chien Yaw Wong Rfid systems
US20110084840A1 (en) * 2009-10-02 2011-04-14 Checkpoint Systems, Inc. Key Device for Monitoring Systems
US20120050069A1 (en) * 2007-01-17 2012-03-01 Denis Mercier System for remotely managing parking areas
US8194045B1 (en) 2005-01-27 2012-06-05 Singleton Technology, Llc Transaction automation and archival system using electronic contract disclosure units
US8228299B1 (en) 2005-01-27 2012-07-24 Singleton Technology, Llc Transaction automation and archival system using electronic contract and disclosure units
GB2494913A (en) * 2011-09-26 2013-03-27 Lee Harvey Walden Charging for goods or services used by vehicle or vehicle user
US8452868B2 (en) 2009-09-21 2013-05-28 Checkpoint Systems, Inc. Retail product tracking system, method, and apparatus
US20130204798A1 (en) * 2010-08-13 2013-08-08 Arwe Service Gmbh Method for vehicle conditioning and provision
US8508367B2 (en) 2009-09-21 2013-08-13 Checkpoint Systems, Inc. Configurable monitoring device
US8640514B2 (en) 2011-06-22 2014-02-04 The Stanley Works Israel Ltd. Electronic and manual lock assembly
US8640513B2 (en) 2011-06-22 2014-02-04 The Stanley Works Israel Ltd. Electronic and manual lock assembly
US8928463B2 (en) 2009-05-22 2015-01-06 The Stanley Works Israel Ltd. Object management system and method
US9466198B2 (en) 2013-02-22 2016-10-11 Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation Wireless tracking of power tools and related devices
US9467862B2 (en) 2011-10-26 2016-10-11 Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation Wireless tracking of power tools and related devices
US9670694B2 (en) 2007-04-12 2017-06-06 Utc Fire & Security Americas Corporation, Inc. Restricted range lockbox, access device and methods
US9888300B2 (en) 2015-05-04 2018-02-06 Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation Power tool and method for wireless communication
US9916582B2 (en) 2011-07-28 2018-03-13 Iii Holdings 1, Llc Systems and methods for generating and using a digital pass

Families Citing this family (164)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US7602313B2 (en) * 1995-06-07 2009-10-13 Intelligent Technologies International, Inc. License plate including transponder
US6427913B1 (en) * 1998-09-11 2002-08-06 Key-Trak, Inc. Object control and tracking system with zonal transition detection
JP2000293795A (en) 1999-04-05 2000-10-20 Honda Motor Co Ltd Device for managing entering and leaving parking lot of shared vehicle
JP2000320210A (en) 1999-05-07 2000-11-21 Honda Motor Co Ltd Vehicle and returning and collecting controller therefor
US7181409B1 (en) 1999-07-07 2007-02-20 The Regents Of The University Of California Shared vehicle system and method involving reserving vehicles with highest states of charge
US6850153B1 (en) 1999-07-07 2005-02-01 The Regents Of The University Of California Vehicle sharing system and method for controlling or securing vehicle access and/or enablement
US6941197B1 (en) 1999-07-07 2005-09-06 The Regents Of The University Of California Vehicle sharing system and method with vehicle parameter tracking
US6975997B1 (en) 1999-07-07 2005-12-13 Honda Giken Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha Method for efficient vehicle allocation in vehicle sharing system
US6947881B1 (en) 1999-07-07 2005-09-20 Honda Giken Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha Shared vehicle system and method with vehicle relocation
US6850898B1 (en) 1999-07-07 2005-02-01 The Regents Of The University Of California Vehicle sharing system and method for allocating vehicles based on state of charge
US20020128769A1 (en) * 2000-05-17 2002-09-12 Viken Der Ghazarian Electronic vehicle monitoring system
EP1160734A3 (en) * 2000-06-01 2004-09-01 Quality Information Systems, S.A. System to control and supervise vehicle transit in restricted access areas
US6861954B2 (en) * 2001-03-30 2005-03-01 Bruce H. Levin Tracking medical products with integrated circuits
US6883710B2 (en) * 2000-10-11 2005-04-26 Amerasia International Technology, Inc. Article tracking system and method
US7158030B2 (en) * 2001-09-19 2007-01-02 Avante International Technology Medical assistance and tracking system and method employing smart tags
US7098793B2 (en) * 2000-10-11 2006-08-29 Avante International Technology, Inc. Tracking system and method employing plural smart tags
US7508308B2 (en) * 2000-10-16 2009-03-24 Avante International Technology, Inc. Tracking apparatus and method, as for an exhibition
US7813934B1 (en) * 2000-10-16 2010-10-12 Avante International Technology, Inc. Tracking apparatus and method, as for an exhibition
US20020183882A1 (en) 2000-10-20 2002-12-05 Michael Dearing RF point of sale and delivery method and system using communication with remote computer and having features to read a large number of RF tags
US7258276B2 (en) * 2000-10-20 2007-08-21 Promega Corporation Radio frequency identification method and system of distributing products
US7733818B2 (en) * 2000-12-22 2010-06-08 Terahop Networks, Inc. Intelligent node communication using network formation messages in a mobile Ad hoc network
US7221668B2 (en) * 2000-12-22 2007-05-22 Terahop Networks, Inc. Communications within population of wireless transceivers based on common designation
US7155264B2 (en) * 2000-12-22 2006-12-26 Terahop Networks, Inc. Systems and methods having LPRF device wake up using wireless tag
US20100330930A1 (en) * 2000-12-22 2010-12-30 Twitchell Robert W Lprf device wake up using wireless tag
US7209771B2 (en) * 2000-12-22 2007-04-24 Terahop Networks, Inc. Battery powered wireless transceiver having LPRF component and second wake up receiver
US7830850B2 (en) 2000-12-22 2010-11-09 Terahop Networks, Inc. Class-switching in class-based data communcations network
US20080303897A1 (en) 2000-12-22 2008-12-11 Terahop Networks, Inc. Visually capturing and monitoring contents and events of cargo container
US8050625B2 (en) 2000-12-22 2011-11-01 Terahop Networks, Inc. Wireless reader tags (WRTs) with sensor components in asset monitoring and tracking systems
US7200132B2 (en) * 2000-12-22 2007-04-03 Terahop Networks, Inc. Forming ad hoc RSI networks among transceivers sharing common designation
US7522568B2 (en) * 2000-12-22 2009-04-21 Terahop Networks, Inc. Propagating ad hoc wireless networks based on common designation and routine
US7430437B2 (en) * 2000-12-22 2008-09-30 Terahop Networks, Inc. Transmitting sensor-acquired data using step-power filtering
US6934540B2 (en) * 2000-12-22 2005-08-23 Seekernet, Inc. Network formation in asset-tracking system based on asset class
US8280345B2 (en) 2000-12-22 2012-10-02 Google Inc. LPRF device wake up using wireless tag
US6745027B2 (en) * 2000-12-22 2004-06-01 Seekernet Incorporated Class switched networks for tracking articles
US7209468B2 (en) * 2000-12-22 2007-04-24 Terahop Networks, Inc. Forming communication cluster of wireless AD HOC network based on common designation
US7133704B2 (en) * 2000-12-22 2006-11-07 Terahop Networks, Inc. Manufacture of LPRF device wake up using wireless tag
CA2437171A1 (en) 2001-02-01 2002-08-08 Key Register Systems, Inc. Object storage and tracking system, an object tracking unit and a container for object tracking units
US7116228B1 (en) 2001-02-20 2006-10-03 Key Control Holding, Inc. Asset management system
DE10113072C5 (en) * 2001-03-15 2011-05-26 Stobbe, Anatoli, Dipl.-Ing. System for storing and dispensing of objects
US6812838B1 (en) 2001-04-26 2004-11-02 Key-Trak, Inc. Key control system using separate ID and location detection mechanisms
US6707381B1 (en) 2001-06-26 2004-03-16 Key-Trak, Inc. Object tracking method and system with object identification and verification
US7336174B1 (en) 2001-08-09 2008-02-26 Key Control Holding, Inc. Object tracking system with automated system control and user identification
US6739507B2 (en) * 2001-10-04 2004-05-25 Ford Motor Company Method of automated rail loading of automotive vehicles
EP1316814A1 (en) 2001-11-30 2003-06-04 Cross Point RFAPP B.V. i.o. Tracing of transponder-tagged objects
US20030125961A1 (en) * 2001-12-27 2003-07-03 Caterpillar Inc. Autonomous rental store
US8339265B2 (en) 2002-01-09 2012-12-25 Sensormatic Electronics, Llc. Method of assigning and deducing the location of articles detected by multiple RFID antennae
US8321302B2 (en) * 2002-01-23 2012-11-27 Sensormatic Electronics, LLC Inventory management system
US7061367B2 (en) * 2002-04-30 2006-06-13 General Electric Company Managing access to physical assets
US20060288101A1 (en) * 2003-08-19 2006-12-21 Key Systems, Inc. Multipurpose Interface and Control System
US20040153386A1 (en) * 2002-08-19 2004-08-05 George Eckerdt Tangible security asset management system and methods thereof
US20040122688A1 (en) * 2002-12-23 2004-06-24 Caterpillar, Inc. Portable autonomous rental store
US7774268B2 (en) 2003-03-03 2010-08-10 The Tb Group, Inc. System, method, and apparatus for identifying and authenticating the presence of high value assets at remote locations
US6880754B1 (en) 2003-05-30 2005-04-19 Handytrack Key Control Systems, Llc Object container and location tracking system with randomized internal object storage location
US7026954B2 (en) * 2003-06-10 2006-04-11 Bellsouth Intellectual Property Corporation Automated parking director systems and related methods
US7230519B2 (en) * 2003-06-19 2007-06-12 Scriptpro Llc RFID tag and method of user verification
US20040256452A1 (en) * 2003-06-19 2004-12-23 Coughlin Michael E. RFID tag and method of user verification
US7478758B2 (en) * 2003-07-15 2009-01-20 Lsi Corporation Method and apparatus for automatically tracking and communicating data storage device information using RF tags: operating condition, configuration and location
US6882282B1 (en) 2003-08-07 2005-04-19 Handytrack Key Control Systems, Llc Object storage and location tracking system with remotely stored and accessible data
US7046147B2 (en) * 2003-08-29 2006-05-16 Rf Monolithics, Inc. Integrated security system and method
US7026934B2 (en) * 2003-10-31 2006-04-11 Sensormatic Electronics Corporation Method and apparatus to prevent unauthorized removal of a pedestal from a base
US20060006999A1 (en) * 2004-01-22 2006-01-12 Vanderbilt University Monitoring people, objects, and information using radio frequency identification
FR2865811B1 (en) * 2004-01-30 2007-01-26 Neopost Ind Device for detecting the direction of passage of an object has a boundary area determined
US7633392B2 (en) * 2004-05-05 2009-12-15 General Electric Company Radio frequency identification asset management system, and computer program product
US20050258937A1 (en) * 2004-05-05 2005-11-24 Trenstar, Inc. Radio frequency identification asset management system and method
US20100039216A1 (en) * 2005-05-20 2010-02-18 Lee Knight Crash detection system and method
US7142107B2 (en) 2004-05-27 2006-11-28 Lawrence Kates Wireless sensor unit
US7091863B2 (en) * 2004-06-03 2006-08-15 Gary Ravet System and method for tracking the movement and location of an object in a predefined area
US7770792B2 (en) * 2004-06-23 2010-08-10 Sap Ag Methods and systems for managing stock transportation
DE602004027846D1 (en) * 2004-07-29 2010-08-05 Mitsubishi Electric Corp Placement status management system, radio-labels-reading apparatus and administrative apparatus
US7849721B2 (en) * 2004-09-10 2010-12-14 Hy-Ko Products Company Radio frequency identification (RFID) system for manufacturing distribution and retailing of keys
US20060082444A1 (en) * 2004-10-19 2006-04-20 Alysis Interactive Corporation Management system for enhanced RFID system performance
US7994896B2 (en) * 2004-10-29 2011-08-09 The Chamberlain Group, Inc. System and method for operating a moveable barrier using a loop detector
US20060103503A1 (en) * 2004-11-12 2006-05-18 Yan Rodriguez Networked movable barrier operator system
US8542093B2 (en) * 2004-11-12 2013-09-24 Qmotion Incorporated Networked movable barrier operator system
EP1839286A2 (en) * 2005-01-10 2007-10-03 Terahop Networks, Inc. Keyhole communication device for tracking and monitoring shipping container and contents thereof
US7391321B2 (en) * 2005-01-10 2008-06-24 Terahop Networks, Inc. Keyhole communication device for tracking and monitoring shipping container and contents thereof
US7151445B2 (en) * 2005-01-10 2006-12-19 Ildiko Medve Method and system for locating a dependent
EP1838562A1 (en) * 2005-01-10 2007-10-03 Jason Gallovich Method and system for preventing vehicle thefts
US7482923B2 (en) 2005-01-27 2009-01-27 The Chamberlain Group, Inc. Alarm system interaction with a movable barrier operator method and apparatus
US7323989B2 (en) 2005-02-22 2008-01-29 International Business Machines Corporation Product locating method and system
US7526381B2 (en) * 2005-06-03 2009-04-28 Terahop Networks, Inc. Network aided terrestrial triangulation using stars (NATTS)
US7542849B2 (en) * 2005-06-03 2009-06-02 Terahop Networks, Inc. Network aided terrestrial triangulation using stars (NATTS)
EP1891760A1 (en) * 2005-06-03 2008-02-27 Terahop Networks, Inc. Using wake-up receivers for soft hand-off in wireless communications
US7563991B2 (en) * 2005-06-08 2009-07-21 Terahop Networks, Inc. All weather housing assembly for electronic components
US7574300B2 (en) 2005-06-16 2009-08-11 Terahop Networks, Inc. GPS denial device detection and location system
US7783246B2 (en) 2005-06-16 2010-08-24 Terahop Networks, Inc. Tactical GPS denial and denial detection system
US7574168B2 (en) * 2005-06-16 2009-08-11 Terahop Networks, Inc. Selective GPS denial system
US7583769B2 (en) * 2005-06-16 2009-09-01 Terahop Netowrks, Inc. Operating GPS receivers in GPS-adverse environment
US7539520B2 (en) * 2005-06-17 2009-05-26 Terahop Networks, Inc. Remote sensor interface (RSI) having power conservative transceiver for transmitting and receiving wakeup signals
US7554442B2 (en) * 2005-06-17 2009-06-30 Terahop Networks, Inc. Event-driven mobile hazmat monitoring
US8144671B2 (en) 2005-07-01 2012-03-27 Twitchell Jr Robert W Communicating via nondeterministic and deterministic network routing
US7830273B2 (en) * 2005-08-18 2010-11-09 Terahop Networks, Inc. Sensor networks for pipeline monitoring
US7705747B2 (en) * 2005-08-18 2010-04-27 Terahop Networks, Inc. Sensor networks for monitoring pipelines and power lines
GB2429559B (en) * 2005-08-23 2008-05-14 Microlise Ltd RFID portal arrangements
ES2285905B1 (en) * 2005-08-24 2008-10-01 Aida Centre, S.L. Method and installation for monitoring the contents of a storage area.
US7567179B2 (en) * 2005-10-17 2009-07-28 Reva Systems Corporation Configuration management system and method for use in an RFID system including a multiplicity of RFID readers
WO2007067831A1 (en) * 2005-10-31 2007-06-14 Terahop Networks, Inc. Determining relative elevation using gps and ranging
US7738973B2 (en) * 2005-11-14 2010-06-15 Rockwell Automation Technologies, Inc. Distributed historian architecture and interfaces
US7831317B2 (en) * 2005-11-14 2010-11-09 Rockwell Automation Technologies, Inc. Distributed historian architecture
US7627385B2 (en) * 2005-11-14 2009-12-01 Rockwell Automation Technologies, Inc. Historian module for use in an industrial automation controller
US8074260B2 (en) * 2005-11-21 2011-12-06 Industrial Technology Research Institute Interactively authorizing access control method
GB201102445D0 (en) * 2005-11-28 2011-03-30 Weatherford Lamb Serialization and database methods for tubulars and oilfield equipment
US7761232B2 (en) * 2005-12-06 2010-07-20 Cypress Semiconductor Corporation Wireless locating and monitoring system
US7579951B2 (en) * 2005-12-28 2009-08-25 Organicid, Inc Tracking radio frequency identification tags
US7609175B2 (en) * 2005-12-30 2009-10-27 Psion Teklogix Inc. Localisation of vehicle or mobile objects based on embedded RFID tags
WO2008036425A1 (en) * 2006-01-01 2008-03-27 Terahop Networks, Inc. Determining presence of radio frequency communication device
US7916023B2 (en) * 2006-01-31 2011-03-29 Zebra Enterprise Solutions Corp. System and method for tracking assets within a monitored environment
CN101401112B (en) * 2006-03-10 2013-01-02 株式会社半导体能源研究所 Semiconductor device
US8212655B2 (en) * 2006-03-30 2012-07-03 Rosemount Inc. System and method for identification of process components
US7679512B2 (en) * 2006-06-27 2010-03-16 Microsoft Corporation Supporting the accurate chronological organization of RFID tag data from distributed sources
US8130104B1 (en) * 2006-06-30 2012-03-06 Precyse Technologies, Inc. Tracking objects crossing a border line between two zones
US20080061926A1 (en) * 2006-07-31 2008-03-13 The Chamberlain Group, Inc. Method and apparatus for utilizing a transmitter having a range limitation to control a movable barrier operator
US7557709B2 (en) * 2006-10-13 2009-07-07 RFID Mexico, S.A. DE C.V. Item tracking system
US7885763B2 (en) * 2006-12-01 2011-02-08 Hand Held Products, Inc. Apparatus and methods for tracking movement of persons
US8643465B2 (en) * 2006-12-04 2014-02-04 The Chamberlain Group, Inc. Network ID activated transmitter
US7667602B2 (en) * 2007-01-19 2010-02-23 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Multi-directional RFID reader for controlling inventory and shelf stock
JP2010517151A (en) * 2007-01-24 2010-05-20 ザ ホンコン ポリテクニック ユニヴァーシティ Apparatus and method for identifying object movement and location with Rfid equipment
US8223680B2 (en) * 2007-02-21 2012-07-17 Google Inc. Mesh network control using common designation wake-up
US20090129306A1 (en) * 2007-02-21 2009-05-21 Terahop Networks, Inc. Wake-up broadcast including network information in common designation ad hoc wireless networking
US8203427B2 (en) * 2007-03-01 2012-06-19 Oracle International Corporation RFID direction trigger driver
US7710275B2 (en) 2007-03-16 2010-05-04 Promega Corporation RFID reader enclosure and man-o-war RFID reader system
US20110227709A1 (en) * 2007-03-20 2011-09-22 Brian Story Wireless asset management and demand floor plan audit system
JP5192163B2 (en) * 2007-03-23 2013-05-08 住友電工デバイス・イノベーション株式会社 Semiconductor device
JP2008244569A (en) * 2007-03-26 2008-10-09 Sanden Corp Rfid tag reader
JP4940010B2 (en) * 2007-04-26 2012-05-30 株式会社日立製作所 Transmitter and a radio system using the same
US8121909B2 (en) * 2007-05-16 2012-02-21 Vikram Seshadri Activity inference and reactive feedback
WO2009039604A1 (en) * 2007-09-25 2009-04-02 Bce Inc. System and method for tracking items associated with read/writable tags
JP4285576B1 (en) * 2007-12-04 2009-06-24 オムロン株式会社 Contactless ic medium communication device and the method, and program
JP4353298B2 (en) * 2007-12-13 2009-10-28 オムロン株式会社 Contactless ic medium direction detecting apparatus and the method, and program
US8447463B1 (en) 2008-02-08 2013-05-21 Gaurav Chowdhary Tracking vehicle locations in a parking lot for definitive display on a GUI
US7957900B2 (en) * 2008-02-08 2011-06-07 Gaurav Chowdhary Tracking vehicle locations in a parking lot for definitive display on a GUI
US8705523B2 (en) 2009-02-05 2014-04-22 Google Inc. Conjoined class-based networking
US8462662B2 (en) * 2008-05-16 2013-06-11 Google Inc. Updating node presence based on communication pathway
US20100007495A1 (en) * 2008-07-10 2010-01-14 International Business Machines Corporation System and Method for Monitoring a Location of a Mobile RFID Reader
US8391435B2 (en) 2008-12-25 2013-03-05 Google Inc. Receiver state estimation in a duty cycled radio
FR2941077B1 (en) * 2009-01-13 2011-03-18 Ajax Holding Identification system for collecting data from at least one vehicle
US8300551B2 (en) * 2009-01-28 2012-10-30 Google Inc. Ascertaining presence in wireless networks
EP2230624A1 (en) * 2009-03-12 2010-09-22 Tulecom Group S.L. Access control system for persons and vehicles based on radio frequency identification (RFID)
US8020768B2 (en) * 2009-04-01 2011-09-20 RFID Mexico, S.A. DE C.V. Portable container inventory control system
US9297256B2 (en) 2009-05-01 2016-03-29 The University Of Sydney Integrated automation system with picture compilation system
US9382797B2 (en) 2009-05-01 2016-07-05 The University Of Sydney Integrated automation system
WO2010124337A1 (en) 2009-05-01 2010-11-04 The University Of Sydney Control system for autonomous operation
US8886382B2 (en) * 2009-05-01 2014-11-11 The University Of Sydney Method and system for regulating movement of an entity between zones
US8610574B2 (en) * 2009-06-15 2013-12-17 Gerald Isaac Kestenbaum Item storage and tracking system
US8077031B2 (en) * 2009-08-20 2011-12-13 Consortium P, Inc. Position locating by polyhedral morphing
US20110050411A1 (en) * 2009-09-01 2011-03-03 Schuman Richard J Integrated healthcare communication and locating system
US8368509B2 (en) 2010-02-10 2013-02-05 The Chamberlain Group, Inc. Apparatus and method for operating devices based upon vehicle detection
US8421591B2 (en) * 2010-02-25 2013-04-16 The Chamberlain Group, Inc. Method and system of conditionally operating a movable barrier
US8754783B2 (en) * 2010-10-15 2014-06-17 3M Innovative Properties Company Estimating parking space occupancy using radio-frequency identification
US8982008B2 (en) * 2011-03-31 2015-03-17 Harris Corporation Wireless communications device including side-by-side passive loop antennas and related methods
US9698997B2 (en) 2011-12-13 2017-07-04 The Chamberlain Group, Inc. Apparatus and method pertaining to the communication of information regarding appliances that utilize differing communications protocol
CA2873816A1 (en) 2012-06-18 2013-12-27 The University Of Sydney Systems and methods for processing geophysical data
US9122254B2 (en) 2012-11-08 2015-09-01 The Chamberlain Group, Inc. Barrier operator feature enhancement
CN103854038A (en) * 2012-12-03 2014-06-11 财团法人资讯工业策进会 Object location confirmation system
US9158950B2 (en) 2013-03-14 2015-10-13 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Method and apparatus pertaining to use of multiple sessions with RFID tags
US9135481B2 (en) 2013-03-14 2015-09-15 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Method and apparatus pertaining to installation of an RFID-tag reader system
US9367978B2 (en) 2013-03-15 2016-06-14 The Chamberlain Group, Inc. Control device access method and apparatus
US20140343891A1 (en) * 2013-05-17 2014-11-20 fybr Distributed remote sensing system sensing device
CN105594189A (en) 2013-05-17 2016-05-18 Fybr有限责任公司 Distributed remote sensing system component interface
FR3013493B1 (en) * 2013-11-20 2016-01-01 Thales Sa access control system has a reserved area with module housed in the passage
CA2976497A1 (en) * 2014-03-20 2015-09-24 Foxtrac Inc. Methods, devices and systems for tracking vehicles
US9396598B2 (en) 2014-10-28 2016-07-19 The Chamberlain Group, Inc. Remote guest access to a secured premises
CN104658142A (en) * 2014-12-24 2015-05-27 张家港恩达通讯科技有限公司 Anti-theft tracking system based on double-radio-frequency label
DE102015214621A1 (en) * 2015-07-31 2017-02-02 Bär Management- und Beteiligungsgesellschaft mbH Trucks and lifting loading platform for a truck, method for loading goods

Family Cites Families (121)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US375857A (en) * 1888-01-03 Mouth
US308777A (en) * 1884-12-02 Shaft-coupling
US29236A (en) 1860-07-24 Etienne bernot
US527589A (en) 1894-10-16 Device for tradesmen s use
DE383341C (en) * 1917-11-08 1923-11-03 Bell Telephone Mfg A radio frequency system for simultaneously telegraphing and telephoning
US2859789A (en) 1957-05-24 1958-11-11 Arthur C W Buckett Key-holder
US2971806A (en) 1957-07-18 1961-02-14 Norman H Andreasen In-and-out pager cabinet
US3451043A (en) 1966-02-21 1969-06-17 Stephen R Krause Components and system for use with inventory interrogating control and readout method and apparatus
JPS5133024B1 (en) 1968-03-22 1976-09-17
US3836755A (en) * 1972-02-14 1974-09-17 Gretag Ag Self-service shop
US4060795A (en) 1973-02-23 1977-11-29 Hitachi, Ltd. Scanning system
US4209787A (en) * 1975-04-16 1980-06-24 Gould Inc. Method for monitoring the location of monitored objects
GB1506540A (en) * 1975-10-08 1978-04-05 Sunds Ab Billet grinding machine
US4112717A (en) 1977-04-15 1978-09-12 Supra Products, Inc. Key box
US4267942A (en) 1979-06-20 1981-05-19 John B. Wick, Jr. Pharmaceutical dispensing cabinet
US4275385A (en) * 1979-08-13 1981-06-23 Bell Telephone Laboratories, Incorporated Infrared personnel locator system
US4419734A (en) 1981-01-09 1983-12-06 Indata Corporation Inventory control system
US4519522A (en) 1981-07-06 1985-05-28 Photo Vending Corporation Apparatus and method for storing and retrieving articles
FR2526976B1 (en) 1982-05-17 1987-03-20 Serres Bernard management system of a panel of objects such as keys
US4636950A (en) 1982-09-30 1987-01-13 Caswell Robert L Inventory management system using transponders associated with specific products
US5062151A (en) * 1983-01-13 1991-10-29 Fisher Berkeley Corporation Communication system
US4827395A (en) 1983-04-21 1989-05-02 Intelli-Tech Corporation Manufacturing monitoring and control systems
GB8323810D0 (en) 1983-09-06 1983-10-05 Banks E J K Supervising access to individual items
US4658357A (en) * 1983-10-04 1987-04-14 B.I. Incorporated Time and accounting system
US4575719A (en) 1983-10-14 1986-03-11 Avicom International, Inc. Controlled access storage system
DE3407386C2 (en) * 1984-02-29 1987-02-05 Hermann 8404 Woerth De Kronseder
US4636634A (en) 1984-08-28 1987-01-13 Veeco Integrated Automation, Inc. Apparatus with intelligent bins indicating the presence and identity of stored coded articles
US4845492A (en) 1984-12-10 1989-07-04 Richard G. Cobb Article monitoring system with printing capability
US4595922A (en) 1984-12-10 1986-06-17 Cobb Richard G Method and apparatus for monitoring keys and other articles
US4783655A (en) * 1984-12-10 1988-11-08 Richard G. Cobb Article monitoring system with printing capability
US4661806A (en) 1985-05-10 1987-04-28 Peters Gilbert A Computer controlled key management system
US4737910A (en) 1985-10-15 1988-04-12 Kimbrow Ronald H Apparatus for tracking inventory
US4673915A (en) 1985-12-12 1987-06-16 Cobb Richard G Key storage and monitoring system
US4866661A (en) 1986-03-26 1989-09-12 Prins Maurits L De Computer controlled rental and sale system and method for a supermarket and the like
US4885571A (en) * 1986-04-15 1989-12-05 B. I. Incorperated Tag for use with personnel monitoring system
US4839875A (en) 1986-05-19 1989-06-13 Anritsu Corporation Technique for automatic tracking of cassette rentals and managing of information related thereto
US4814592A (en) 1986-05-29 1989-03-21 Videomat Associates Apparatus and method for storing and retrieving articles
US4799587A (en) 1986-06-17 1989-01-24 Desanto David A Storage case for keys with plural velcro retainers
US4796209A (en) 1986-06-26 1989-01-03 Allegheny Ludlum Corporation Random inventory system
US4812985A (en) 1986-09-15 1989-03-14 Ja-Pac, Inc Article storage and retrieval system
ES2040343T3 (en) 1987-06-08 1993-10-16 Esselte Meto International Gmbh magnetic devices.
GB8713353D0 (en) 1987-06-08 1987-07-15 Scient Generics Ltd Magnetic article surveillance systems
US4896024A (en) * 1987-10-19 1990-01-23 Diebold, Incorporated Apparatus for dispensing and accepting return of reusable articles
US4967906A (en) * 1987-10-19 1990-11-06 Diebold, Incorporated Apparatus for dispensing and accepting return of reusable articles
US4853692A (en) 1987-12-07 1989-08-01 Wolk Barry M Infant security system
US4889977A (en) 1987-12-21 1989-12-26 Southwestern Bell Telephone Company Method of identifying the disposition of plug-in units at a warehouse
US4889457A (en) * 1988-04-11 1989-12-26 Premier Industrial Corporation Load indicator
US4882569A (en) 1988-07-26 1989-11-21 Security Tag Systems, Inc. Deactivatable fequency-dividing-transponder tag
US4918432A (en) * 1988-09-27 1990-04-17 B. I. Incorporated House arrest monitoring system
US4929819A (en) * 1988-12-12 1990-05-29 Ncr Corporation Method and apparatus for customer performed article scanning in self-service shopping
US5038023A (en) 1989-06-28 1991-08-06 C. Itoh Information Systems Development, Inc. System for storing and monitoring bar coded articles such as keys in a drawer
US5099227A (en) 1989-07-18 1992-03-24 Indala Corporation Proximity detecting apparatus
US5021778A (en) 1989-09-11 1991-06-04 Walton Charles A Capacitance coupled proximity identification system
US4926161A (en) * 1989-10-23 1990-05-15 Cupp Ted W Method of monitoring golf carts on a golf course
US5182570A (en) 1989-11-13 1993-01-26 X-Cyte Inc. End fed flat antenna
US5319544A (en) 1989-11-20 1994-06-07 Itt Corporation Computerized inventory monitoring and verification system and method
US5225825A (en) * 1990-04-05 1993-07-06 Meridian Incorporated Electronic interlock for storage assemblies
US5426284A (en) 1990-12-12 1995-06-20 Engineered Data Products, Inc. Apparatus for locating and tracking information storage items using predefined labels
US5287414A (en) 1991-06-21 1994-02-15 Esselte Pendaflex Corporation Coded file locator system
US5218344A (en) * 1991-07-31 1993-06-08 Ricketts James G Method and system for monitoring personnel
US5172829A (en) 1991-09-26 1992-12-22 Siemens Nixdorf Information Systems, Inc. Automated key dispenser
US5521815A (en) 1992-01-31 1996-05-28 K.L.E. Irrevocable Trust Uniform system for verifying and tracking articles of value
US5525969A (en) 1992-05-18 1996-06-11 Ladue; Christoph K. Monitoring device for location verification
DE4345610B4 (en) 1992-06-17 2013-01-03 Micron Technology Inc. A method for manufacturing a radio frequency identification device (RFID)
US5335170A (en) 1992-09-04 1994-08-02 Comtec Information Systems, Inc. Modular system for inventory control
US5533079A (en) 1993-01-25 1996-07-02 Medselect Systems, Inc. Inventory monitoring apparatus
US5971593A (en) * 1994-12-16 1999-10-26 Diebold, Incorporated Dispensing system for medical items
US5404384A (en) 1993-01-25 1995-04-04 Medselect Systems, Inc. Inventory monitoring apparatus employing counter for adding and subtracting objects being monitored
US5374815A (en) 1993-03-15 1994-12-20 Electronic Retailing Systems Int'l Inc. Technique for locating electronic labels in an electronic price display system
US5402104A (en) 1993-06-09 1995-03-28 Larosa; Lazaro Scanning excessive separation alarm
WO1995004324A1 (en) * 1993-07-29 1995-02-09 Morse Watchmans, Inc. System and device for storing objects
US5434775A (en) 1993-11-04 1995-07-18 The General Hospital Corporation Managing an inventory of devices
US5510770A (en) 1994-03-30 1996-04-23 Checkpoint Systems, Inc. Surface deactivateable tag
US5905653A (en) * 1994-07-14 1999-05-18 Omnicell Technologies, Inc. Methods and devices for dispensing pharmaceutical and medical supply items
US5703785A (en) 1994-08-19 1997-12-30 Bluemel; Mark R. Inventory control apparatus and method of using same
US5612683A (en) 1994-08-26 1997-03-18 Trempala; Dohn J. Security key holder
US5528222A (en) 1994-09-09 1996-06-18 International Business Machines Corporation Radio frequency circuit and memory in thin flexible package
US5574470A (en) 1994-09-30 1996-11-12 Palomar Technologies Corporation Radio frequency identification transponder apparatus and method
US5554974A (en) 1994-11-23 1996-09-10 International Business Machines Corporation Encodable tag with radio frequency readout
US5751221A (en) 1995-01-27 1998-05-12 Steelcase Inc. Electronic system, components and method for tracking files
US5635693A (en) * 1995-02-02 1997-06-03 International Business Machines Corporation System and method for tracking vehicles in vehicle lots
GB9506909D0 (en) 1995-04-04 1995-05-24 Scient Generics Ltd Spatial magnetic interrogation system
US5671362A (en) 1995-04-04 1997-09-23 Cowe; Alan B. Materials monitoring systems, materials management systems and related methods
US5836002A (en) * 1995-06-01 1998-11-10 Morstein; Jason Anti-theft device
US5661457A (en) 1995-06-19 1997-08-26 Sensormatic Electronics Corporation Directional antenna configuration for asset tracking system
US5721531A (en) 1995-06-28 1998-02-24 The Whitaker Corporation Monitoring arrangement for electronic file folder locator system
US5627520A (en) 1995-07-10 1997-05-06 Protell Systems International, Inc. Tamper detect monitoring device
DE69622566D1 (en) 1995-07-17 2002-08-29 Flying Null Ltd Improvements with respect to the magnetic tag or marker
US6075441A (en) 1996-09-05 2000-06-13 Key-Trak, Inc. Inventoriable-object control and tracking system
DE69625083T2 (en) 1995-09-08 2004-02-26 Key-Trak, Inc., Ovieda Control and tracking system for inventarisierbare objects
US5777884A (en) 1995-10-16 1998-07-07 Minnesota Mining And Manufacturing Company Article inventory tracking and control system
US6069563A (en) * 1996-03-05 2000-05-30 Kadner; Steven P. Seal system
US5689238A (en) 1996-03-08 1997-11-18 Lucent Technologies, Inc. Object locator system and methods therefor
US5821859A (en) 1996-06-07 1998-10-13 Ibm Corporation Concealed magnetic ID code and antitheft tag
US5736929A (en) 1996-06-07 1998-04-07 International Business Machines Corporation System for concealed serialization utilizing a soft magnetic antitheft element
WO1997048990A1 (en) 1996-06-19 1997-12-24 Flying Null Limited Magnetic reading devices
US5961036A (en) * 1996-07-12 1999-10-05 Diebold, Incorporated Apparatus and method for accepting return of unused medical items
US5957372A (en) * 1996-07-12 1999-09-28 Diebold, Incorporated Apparatus and method for accepting return of unused medical items
US5708419A (en) 1996-07-22 1998-01-13 Checkpoint Systems, Inc. Method of wire bonding an integrated circuit to an ultraflexible substrate
US5771003A (en) 1996-09-24 1998-06-23 Elenco Electronics, Inc. Locating system and process
GB9619896D0 (en) 1996-09-24 1996-11-06 Flying Null Ltd Improvements in or relating to magnetic sensors
GB9621000D0 (en) 1996-10-09 1996-11-27 Flying Null Ltd Magnetic tags and techniques
ES2196372T3 (en) 1996-10-09 2003-12-16 Flying Null Ltd Magnetic interrogation techniques.
GB9625561D0 (en) 1996-12-09 1997-01-29 Flying Null Ltd Magnetic tags
US5768921A (en) 1997-04-18 1998-06-23 Supra Products, Inc. Key box device
US5934499A (en) 1997-04-18 1999-08-10 Van Der Hoven; Clifton Aubrey Locker box
US5963134A (en) 1997-07-24 1999-10-05 Checkpoint Systems, Inc. Inventory system using articles with RFID tags
DE69822841D1 (en) 1997-08-19 2004-05-06 Flying Null Ltd Improvement in terms of electrosurgical units and their localization
GB9722938D0 (en) 1997-10-30 1998-01-07 Flying Null Ltd Generating magnetic fields
GB9800064D0 (en) 1998-01-05 1998-03-04 Sentec Ltd Uni-directional magnetic tag
US6148271A (en) * 1998-01-14 2000-11-14 Silicon Pie, Inc. Speed, spin rate, and curve measuring device
US5936527A (en) 1998-02-10 1999-08-10 E-Tag Systems, Inc. Method and apparatus for locating and tracking documents and other objects
GB9811574D0 (en) * 1998-05-30 1998-07-29 Ibm Indexed file system and a method and a mechanism for accessing data records from such a system
US6788997B1 (en) * 1998-06-01 2004-09-07 Medselect, Inc. Medical cabinet with adjustable drawers
ES2344741T3 (en) * 1998-08-14 2010-09-06 3M Innovative Properties Company Rfid reader.
WO2000016281A1 (en) 1998-09-11 2000-03-23 Key-Trak, Inc. Mobile object tracking system
US6195005B1 (en) 1998-09-11 2001-02-27 Key-Trak, Inc. Object carriers for an object control and tracking system
US6427913B1 (en) * 1998-09-11 2002-08-06 Key-Trak, Inc. Object control and tracking system with zonal transition detection
WO2000016280A1 (en) 1998-09-11 2000-03-23 Key-Trak, Inc. Object tracking system with non-contact object detection and identification
US6745366B1 (en) * 2000-11-21 2004-06-01 Daewoo Electronics Corporation Error correcting method and apparatus for N:N+1 channel codes
US6707381B1 (en) * 2001-06-26 2004-03-16 Key-Trak, Inc. Object tracking method and system with object identification and verification

Cited By (59)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20040041695A1 (en) * 2002-08-30 2004-03-04 Reining William N. Method for communication between central terminal and multiple transponders
US6975206B2 (en) 2002-08-30 2005-12-13 Intellectual Property, Llc Method for communication between central terminal and multiple transponders
US20040210757A1 (en) * 2003-01-23 2004-10-21 Noam Kogan Method and a system for unauthorized vehicle control
US7042334B2 (en) 2003-01-31 2006-05-09 General Electric Company Methods for managing access to physical assets
US7123127B2 (en) 2003-01-31 2006-10-17 General Electric Company System for managing physical assets
US20040150508A1 (en) * 2003-01-31 2004-08-05 General Electric Company System for managing physical assets
US7049942B2 (en) 2003-07-07 2006-05-23 Jason Gallovich Method and system for preventing vehicle thefts
US20090267802A1 (en) * 2003-07-07 2009-10-29 Swabey Ogilvy Renault Vehicle theft prevention
US7068028B2 (en) 2003-09-12 2006-06-27 Intellectual Property Llc Method and apparatus for metal target proximity detection at long distances
US20050062484A1 (en) * 2003-09-12 2005-03-24 Reining William N. Method and apparatus for metal target proximity detection at long distances
US7391326B2 (en) 2003-11-24 2008-06-24 Black & Decker Inc. Wireless asset monitoring and security system
US20080001755A1 (en) * 2003-11-24 2008-01-03 Daniel Puzio Wireless asset monitoring and security system
US20050128083A1 (en) * 2003-11-24 2005-06-16 Daniel Puzio Wireless asset monitoring and security system
US20050110639A1 (en) * 2003-11-24 2005-05-26 Daniel Puzio Wireless asset monitoring and security system using user identification tags
US7649464B2 (en) 2003-11-24 2010-01-19 Black & Decker Inc. Wireless asset monitoring and security system using user identification tags
US7319395B2 (en) 2003-11-24 2008-01-15 Black & Decker Inc. Wireless asset monitoring and security system using user identification tags
US7339477B2 (en) 2003-11-24 2008-03-04 Black & Decker Inc. Wireless asset monitoring and security system
EP1533767A1 (en) * 2003-11-24 2005-05-25 BLACK & DECKER INC. Wireless asset monitoring and security system
US20090015410A1 (en) * 2003-11-24 2009-01-15 Daniel Puzio Wireless asset monitoring and security system
US7750811B2 (en) 2003-11-24 2010-07-06 Black & Decker Inc. Wireless asset monitoring and security system
WO2005088859A1 (en) * 2004-03-15 2005-09-22 Siemens Ag Österreich Close-range data transmission with lower data transfer rates using a suitable electrical stray field
US7669763B2 (en) * 2004-06-23 2010-03-02 Sap Ag Methods and system for managing stock
US20050284934A1 (en) * 2004-06-23 2005-12-29 Sap Aktiengesellschaft Methods and system for managing stock
US8194045B1 (en) 2005-01-27 2012-06-05 Singleton Technology, Llc Transaction automation and archival system using electronic contract disclosure units
US8854330B1 (en) 2005-01-27 2014-10-07 Reynolds & Reynolds Holdings, Inc. Transaction automation and archival system using electronic contract disclosure units
US9916018B1 (en) 2005-01-27 2018-03-13 Reynolds & Reynolds Holdings, Inc. Transaction automation and archival system using electronic contract disclosure units
US8933904B2 (en) 2005-01-27 2015-01-13 Reynolds & Reynolds Holdings, Inc. Transaction automation and archival system using electronic contract disclosure units
US9081423B2 (en) 2005-01-27 2015-07-14 Reynolds & Reynolds Holdings, Inc. Transaction automation and archival system using electrode contract disclosure units
US8531424B1 (en) 2005-01-27 2013-09-10 Reynolds & Reynolds Holdings, Inc. Transaction automation and archival system using electronic contract disclosure units
US9235276B1 (en) 2005-01-27 2016-01-12 Reynolds & Reynolds Holding, Inc. Transaction automation and archival system using electronic contract disclosure units
US8228299B1 (en) 2005-01-27 2012-07-24 Singleton Technology, Llc Transaction automation and archival system using electronic contract and disclosure units
US8547356B2 (en) 2005-01-27 2013-10-01 Reynolds & Reynolds Holdings, Inc. Transaction automation and archival system using electronic contract disclosure units
US20080180489A1 (en) * 2006-10-02 2008-07-31 Seiko Epson Corporation Droplet discharging head and method of manufacturing the same, and droplet discharging device and method of manufacturing the same
US7808371B2 (en) 2006-10-03 2010-10-05 2862-8030 Quebec Inc. Vehicle fleet security system
US20080114691A1 (en) * 2006-10-31 2008-05-15 Chuck Foster Processing transactions
US8060437B2 (en) 2006-10-31 2011-11-15 International Funding Partners Llc Automatic termination of electronic transactions
US20080114684A1 (en) * 2006-10-31 2008-05-15 Chuck Foster Termination of transactions
US20080103966A1 (en) * 2006-10-31 2008-05-01 Chuck Foster System and/or method for dynamic determination of transaction processing fees
US20080103965A1 (en) * 2006-10-31 2008-05-01 Chuck Foster Just in time transactions
US20120050069A1 (en) * 2007-01-17 2012-03-01 Denis Mercier System for remotely managing parking areas
US9670694B2 (en) 2007-04-12 2017-06-06 Utc Fire & Security Americas Corporation, Inc. Restricted range lockbox, access device and methods
US20090237219A1 (en) * 2008-03-21 2009-09-24 Berlin Bradley M Security apparatus, system and method of using same
WO2010034933A1 (en) * 2008-09-23 2010-04-01 Universite Paris 13 System and method for detecting at least one object having a marker
FR2936389A1 (en) * 2008-09-23 2010-03-26 Univ Paris 13 System and method for detection of at least one object with a tag.
US8928463B2 (en) 2009-05-22 2015-01-06 The Stanley Works Israel Ltd. Object management system and method
US9639722B2 (en) 2009-05-22 2017-05-02 The Stanley Works Israel Ltd. Object management system and method
US20100325550A1 (en) * 2009-06-17 2010-12-23 Chien Yaw Wong Rfid systems
US8508367B2 (en) 2009-09-21 2013-08-13 Checkpoint Systems, Inc. Configurable monitoring device
US8452868B2 (en) 2009-09-21 2013-05-28 Checkpoint Systems, Inc. Retail product tracking system, method, and apparatus
US8378826B2 (en) * 2009-10-02 2013-02-19 Checkpoint Systems, Inc. Key device for monitoring systems
US20110084840A1 (en) * 2009-10-02 2011-04-14 Checkpoint Systems, Inc. Key Device for Monitoring Systems
US20130204798A1 (en) * 2010-08-13 2013-08-08 Arwe Service Gmbh Method for vehicle conditioning and provision
US8640513B2 (en) 2011-06-22 2014-02-04 The Stanley Works Israel Ltd. Electronic and manual lock assembly
US8640514B2 (en) 2011-06-22 2014-02-04 The Stanley Works Israel Ltd. Electronic and manual lock assembly
US9916582B2 (en) 2011-07-28 2018-03-13 Iii Holdings 1, Llc Systems and methods for generating and using a digital pass
GB2494913A (en) * 2011-09-26 2013-03-27 Lee Harvey Walden Charging for goods or services used by vehicle or vehicle user
US9467862B2 (en) 2011-10-26 2016-10-11 Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation Wireless tracking of power tools and related devices
US9466198B2 (en) 2013-02-22 2016-10-11 Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation Wireless tracking of power tools and related devices
US9888300B2 (en) 2015-05-04 2018-02-06 Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation Power tool and method for wireless communication

Also Published As

Publication number Publication date Type
US20030201321A1 (en) 2003-10-30 application
EP1121812A4 (en) 2003-04-09 application
US6427913B1 (en) 2002-08-06 grant
US20050040232A1 (en) 2005-02-24 application
WO2000016564A1 (en) 2000-03-23 application
EP1121812A1 (en) 2001-08-08 application
CA2343412A1 (en) 2000-03-23 application

Similar Documents

Publication Publication Date Title
US5979753A (en) Device and method for secure data updates in a self-checkout system
US6693539B2 (en) Inventory system using articles with RFID tags
US6717517B2 (en) Event driven information system
US20020198795A1 (en) Home inventory management system and method
US7337963B2 (en) Portal system for a controlled space
US20030122673A1 (en) Tag
US7117121B2 (en) System and process to ensure performance of mandated inspections
US7513425B2 (en) Article tracking system and method
US7423535B2 (en) Object monitoring, locating, and tracking method employing RFID devices
US20040008114A1 (en) Method and apparatus for tracking objects and people
US6911908B1 (en) Security
US7342497B2 (en) Object monitoring, locating, and tracking system employing RFID devices
US5260690A (en) Article removal control system
US7319397B2 (en) RFID device for object monitoring, locating, and tracking
US5615622A (en) Security module
US7839289B2 (en) Object monitoring, locating, and tracking system and method employing RFID devices
US5151684A (en) Electronic inventory label and security apparatus
US20070296545A1 (en) System for management of ubiquitously deployed intelligent locks
US20060164232A1 (en) Auditable security for cargo containers and other repositories
US20110313893A1 (en) Management and control system for a designated functional space having at least one portal
US4471343A (en) Electronic detection systems and methods
US6532399B2 (en) Dispensing method using indirect coupling
US4881061A (en) Article removal control system
US4831363A (en) Article security system
US20120092130A1 (en) System and method for operating a synchronized wireless network

Legal Events

Date Code Title Description
AS Assignment

Owner name: KEY-TRAK, INC., GEORGIA

Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:MALONEY, WILLIAM C.;REEL/FRAME:013701/0414

Effective date: 19990908