Georgia Southern University Professor Bob Cook is proposing that the federal government create a national truck tracking system based on radio frequency identification (RFID) devices as a way to better secure the trucking industry.
“Every day, millions of commercial trucks travel the nation's highways and homeland security officials are still looking for a system to keep track of this massive volume of traffic,” he said. “I’m proposing that a system linking RFID devices, truck weigh-stations and law enforcement vehicles together to gather information for a proposed national truck tracking center.”
Cook’s suggestion is to attach a small RFID unit with its own identification code to each truck and container. Every time a truck passes through a weigh-station, an electronic reader would sense the RFID devices and feed the truck and container’s location into a national truck tracking computer system, he said. Cook also proposes to equip law enforcement vehicles with RFID sensors. The sensors would then collect truck-tracking information in the normal course of their patrols and transmit it back to a computer system.
Cook said that he assembled a prototype system and successfully tested it at a weigh station on Interstate 16 near Savannah, GA. He worked with the Georgia Ports Authority, a trucking company and a major retail distributor to test the system.
“RFID is catching fire in the transportation industry,” said Tom Armstrong, director of strategic development and information technology for the Georgia Ports Authority, which is working with Cook on this project. “We at the Georgia Ports Authority are looking to the day when there is a national infrastructure in place, and even further down the road, an international infrastructure that can capitalize on RFID possibilities.”
In addition to providing homeland security data, Cook says his system would allow legitimate customers to more easily and uniformly track deliveries and that his proposal ties in closely with the Georgia Department of Transportation’s plans for electronic highways.
“The bottom line is that Georgia was already an innovator of ‘e-highways’ before I started this project. Basically, I'm just trying to expand and promote the idea,” Cook said.