Students of three engineering colleges have come up with tagging technology that will use RFID chips to track luggage real-time at every stage of transfer, a concept that may bring an end to baggage being lost or their delivery delayed at Indian airports. The prototypes were presented at the recently concluded Smart India Hackathon by teams from New Delhi-based Bharati Vidyapeeth's College of Engineering (BVCE), SIES Graduate School of Technology, Navi Mumbai, and RV College of Engineering, Bengaluru.
Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to objects. The tags contain electronically-stored information.
"The model presented by us uses passive RFID tags. The tags can help locate baggage and gives real-time information at what stage of transfer a bag is in. Passengers can get information about their luggage on their smart-phones or through SMS," said Supreeth YS, who was leading the Bengaluru-based college's team.
He also said that the tags can be reused and passengers can also attach it to collars of their pets to track them.
The teams, each having six members, were participating in the Hackathon's Smart Communication Category in which 13 models on different concepts were presented at the Pilani-based CSIR-CEERI.
The grand finale was held on 22 June at 10 major centres including CSIR-CEERI, IIT-Kharagpur, IIT-Kanpur, IIT-Roorkee and IISC Bengaluru.
Harshil Bansal, who was leading the BVCE team, said, "Our RFID tags will only improve the existing bar-code tag being used by airport authorities."
Besides passengers, even airport officials can use information from these tags to locate and trace misplaced baggage, Bansal said, adding that the tags can be used with the existing system.
Both the teams have based their prototypes on passive RFID technology, which they said was not harmful to health.
They claimed that everyday nearly 128 bags and suitcases get misplaced, delayed, mishandled or lost during transfers at Indian airports.
On March 29, hundreds of passengers faced delays in baggage clearance, leading to long queues and flight delays, at Terminal 3 of the Indira Gandhi International airport here. BJP MP Hema Malini was among the passengers.
Even, Union minister Piyush Goyal arrived at a function in Mumbai hours behind schedule as source close to him had said his flight from Delhi had got delayed.
Director CSIR-CEERI Santanu Chaudhury said that these prototypes if commercialised could help solve the problem.
The Bengaluru and the New Delhi teams bagged the second and third spots at the second edition of the event in Rajasthan's Pilani.