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Tire-Tag Maker Offers Blowout Price

April 21st, 2006 News - Automotive
Advanced ID, a Canadian RFID solutions provider based in Calgary, Alberta, has announced plans to sell passive UHF RFID tags for automobile tire identification priced at 40 cents each, provided it receives orders totaling at least 10 million tags. According to a statement from the company, it will accept purchase orders for quantities less than 10 million from interested parties until the quantity is met, at which point all companies ordering the tags will be eligible for the 40-cent pricing. The statement says a minimum order quantity from any one company will be required, but does not provide that minimum number.

The statement also notes that the tags will be compliant with ISO tag standards and Auto Industry Action Group (AIAG)'s B-11 standard for tags used on tires. The AIAG created the B-11 in response to the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation Act (TREAD Act), which the U.S. Congress passed in November 2000, requiring all tires on new-model cars to be individually trackable. Since the B-11 conforms to the EPC numbering scheme, retailers and the Department of Defense can use the EPC for inventory purposes. ISO is on the cusp of ratifying the ISO 18000-6c standard, compliant with EPCglobal's Gen 2 protocol.

In January, AIAG, ISO and EPCglobal codeveloped a proposal that would let AIAG members utilize the "user-memory" portion of the EPC Gen 2/ISO 18000-6c protocol to encode with industry-specific data. Such tag data would include the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) tire identification number, which provides information on a tire's manufacturing date and location (see Auto Industry RFID Data Standard Proposed and Tag Proposal Addresses Industry Needs).

The Advanced ID announcement does not provide details on who will manufacture the tags, nor when they will become available. However, Pat King, global electronics strategist at Michelin, says the new pricing announcement is an important indicator that standards development leads to price reduction. In 2004, before the various automobile industry players had come together to form harmonized standards, tire tags cost more that $2 each. "This is a clear indication of the benefits that results from an industry working together toward a harmonized standard," says King.

Advanced ID products and services are geared mostly toward low-frequency and ultra-high-frequency RFID systems for pet and livestock identification. Over the past two years, however, it has been collaborating with Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. on the Goodyear Eagle Racing Tires RFID tire tag used in all NASCAR Racing circuits (see RFID Tracks Tires at NASCAR).