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1. (WO2011156047) MULTILANE VEHICLE TRACKING SYSTEM
Note: Text based on automatic Optical Character Recognition processes. Please use the PDF version for legal matters

MULTILANE VEHICLE TRACKING SYSTEM

This application is being filed on 31 March 2011, as a PCT

International Patent application in the name of Federal Signal Corporation, a U.S. national corporation, applicant for the designation of all countries except the U.S., and Bruce B. Roesner, a citizen of the U.S., applicant for the designation of the U.S only, and claims priority to U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 12/797,425 filed on 09 June 2010.

Background

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) based toll collection systems typically use a single reader and associated antenna per lane of traffic. In such arrangements, an antenna is oriented such that its field of transmission and reception is aimed toward a lane of traffic, for example a road lane. The antenna associated with each lane of traffic is directed toward that lane and limited so that the field covered by that antenna does not overlap into neighboring lanes.

For example, in Figure 1, a schematic elevation view of a four lane traffic pattern is illustrated. In this arrangement, a single antenna (illustrated as the triangular element) is associated with each lane, typically by being placed above and oriented downward toward the lane (typically oriented slightly back "upstream" toward oncoming traffic as well). Each antenna has a dedicated RFID reader that transmits RFID read requests and receives responses on an antenna port to which each antenna is respectively connected.

When the lanes are controlled to prevent vehicles passing between lanes of a multilane road (e.g., by including barriers between lanes), this

arrangement can be effective. However, tolling is increasingly performed without barriers or other controls placed between lanes. In such situations, a number of problems occur. First, coverage of the RF field generated by each antenna is limited, so tags passing between readers will have reduced read rates. Second, if antenna fields are designed to overlap, those overlapping fields must be duty-cycled to prevent the antenna fields from both being active at the same time. This is because, if two readers attempt to communicate with an RFID tag at the same time,

that RFID tag can become "confused" and fail to respond appropriately to either reader. This results in the tag not being read by either reader. It has been observed that, even if two adjacent readers are synchronized, efficiency of the readers decreases by more than fifty (50) percent.

Existing attempts to address this lack of efficiency use a single RFID reader having multiple antenna ports, with one antenna associated with each port, and one antenna per lane of traffic. The single RFID reader is then tasked with ensuring that no overlapping antennas are on at the same time, typically by turning on only one antenna at a time and cycling through the antennas. However, when used with two lanes of traffic, this arrangement causes efficiency to drop to less than fifty (50) percent, and for four lanes the efficiency of the antenna arrangement is less than twenty- five (25) percent (since only one antenna would be on, associated with a single lane, at any given time). Additionally, this single reader, one antenna per lane arrangement does not provide complete coverage across all lanes of traffic.

Additional antennas added to each lane (e.g., two antennas directed to a common lane and activated by a single port of a reader) do not address the complete coverage issue because standing waves and resulting nulls are formed, in which an RFID tag would not respond.

For these and other reasons, improvements are desirable.

Summary

In accordance with the following disclosure, the above and other problems are addressed by the following.

In a first aspect, an object tracking system is disclosed and includes an RFID reader including a plurality of antenna ports. The object tracking system also includes a first antenna connected to a first antenna port of the plurality of antenna ports, the first antenna oriented toward a first lane, and a second antenna connected to the first antenna port and oriented toward a second lane. The object tracking system also includes a third antenna connected to a second antenna port of the plurality of antenna ports, the third antenna oriented toward the first lane.

In a second aspect, a method of detecting a vehicle in a lane of traffic includes detecting an RFID tag with one of first and second antennas connected to a first antenna port of an RFID reader, the first antenna associated with a first lane of traffic and the second antenna associated with a second lane of traffic. The method also includes detecting the RFID tag with a third antenna connected to a second antenna port of the RFID reader, the third antenna associated with one of the first and second lanes of traffic. The RFID reader is configured to determine the presence of the RFID tag within one of the first and second lanes of traffic based on receiving a response signal at the first and second antenna ports.

In a third aspect, a vehicle tracking system useable in association with a plurality of lanes of traffic is disclosed. The vehicle tracking system includes an RFID reader including a plurality of antenna ports. The system also includes a first antenna and a second antenna connected to a first antenna port of the plurality of antenna ports via a splitter. The first antenna has a field extending toward a first lane of traffic and which has minimal or no overlap into a second lane of traffic, and the second antenna has a field extending toward the second lane of traffic and which has minimal or no overlap into the first lane of traffic. The system also includes a third antenna and a fourth antenna connected to a second antenna port of the plurality of antenna ports via a splitter. The third antenna has a field extending toward the first lane of traffic and which has minimal or no overlap into the second lane of traffic, and the fourth antenna has a field extending toward a third lane of traffic and which has minimal or no overlap into the first or second lanes of traffic. The system also includes a fifth antenna and a sixth antenna connected to a third antenna port of the plurality of antenna ports via a splitter. The fifth antenna has a field extending toward the second lane of traffic and which has minimal or no overlap into the first or third lanes of traffic, and the sixth antenna has a field extending toward a fourth lane of traffic and which has minimal or no overlap into the first, second, or third lanes of traffic. The system further includes a seventh antenna and an eighth antenna connected to a fourth antenna port of the plurality of antenna ports via a splitter. The seventh antenna has a field extending toward the fourth lane of traffic and which has minimal or no overlap into the first, second, or third lanes of traffic, and the eighth antenna having a field extending toward a third lane of traffic and which has minimal or no overlap into the first, second, or fourth lanes of traffic. The RF ID reader is configured to detect the existence of a vehicle in a lane based on detection of an RPID device associated with the vehicle at two or more of the plurality of antenna ports.

Description of the Drawings

Figure 1 illustrates a prior art arrangement for detecting traffic in a multilane arrangement.

Figure 2 is a schematic elevation view of a two lane vehicle tracking system.

Figure 3 is a schematic diagram of components of the vehicle tracking system of Figure 2.

Figure 4 is a schematic elevation view of a three lane vehicle tracking system.

Figure 5 is a schematic diagram of components of the vehicle tracking system of Figure 4.

Figure 6 is a schematic elevation view of a four lane vehicle tracking system.

Figure 7 is a schematic diagram of components of the vehicle tracking system of Figure 6.

Figures 8A-8D illustrate operation of the four lane vehicle tracking system of Figure 6.

Figure 9 is a flowchart of a method for detecting the presence of an

RPID tag.

Figure 10 is a flowchart of a method for associating an RFID tag with a lane of a multilane traffic arrangement.

Detailed Description

Various embodiments of the present disclosure will be described in detail with reference to the drawings, wherein like reference numerals represent like parts and assemblies throughout the several views. Reference to various

embodiments does not limit the scope of the disclosure. Additionally, any examples set forth in this specification are not intended to be limiting and merely set forth some of the many possible embodiments for the present disclosure.

In general, the present disclosure relates to a multilane vehicle tracking system, and methods of use and operation of such a system. Although the examples provided herein are described with respect to the tolling of vehicles, the principles can be used to track any object passing through a portal including multiple lanes, such as objects moving through a warehouse as part of a supply chain management system.

The systems and methods of the present disclosure provide improved efficiency in detecting traffic, particularly in an uncontrolled multilane traffic environment. By "uncontrolled," it is intended that traffic is not physically prevented from changing lanes within a region including the tracking system, such as by physical barriers between lanes or other methods.

The systems and methods relate to use of a radio frequency identification tag reader, or RFID reader, that has more than one antenna port for radiofrequency (RF) communication and has at least two antennas connected to one or more of the antenna ports. By selectively associating antennas sharing an antenna port with different traffic lanes, it is possible to detect a particular lane in which an RFID tag and associated vehicle exists based on a combination of responses from that RFID tag received at antenna ports of the RFID reader.

This arrangement can improve the efficiency of the overall system. For example, in a four lane arrangement such as disclosed herein, the systems and methods described herein operate at approximately fifty (50) percent efficiency.

Referring now to Figures 2 and 3, a possible configuration for a two lane vehicle tracking system 100 is described.

Figure 2 illustrates a schematic elevation view of the two lane vehicle tracking system 100. In the embodiment shown, the system 100 includes a plurality of antennas 102a-d, with two antennas associated with each lane of a multilane traffic pattern. In the embodiment shown, antennas 102a-b are associated with a first traffic lane 104a, and antennas 102c-d are associated with a second traffic lane 104b. The first traffic lane 104a is adjacent to the second traffic lane 104b.

In the embodiment shown, the antennas 102a-d are directional antennas, and, as such, can be placed on an arrangement oriented toward a lane of traffic with which they are associated. The antennas 102a-d are preferably

positioned above a traffic lane and oriented both downward toward the traffic lane (as illustrated) and slightly "upstream" toward oncoming traffic. In the embodiment shown, the antennas 102a-d are placed approximately 17 feet above the lane surface (height illustrated by horizontal dashed lines); however, other heights could be used as well.

As illustrated, each antenna 102a-d has an associated field 106a-d, respectively, which represents the area in which that associated antenna can communicate to an RFID tag and receives a response. Each antenna 102a-d is positioned and oriented to have a field covering a single lane and has minimal or no overlap into an adjacent lane to prevent standing waves or RFID tag collision events (e.g., when an RFID tag attempts to respond to two or more read requests from two antennas at the same time). However, other embodiments are possible as well. Furthermore, although in the embodiment shown two antennas are associated with each traffic lane, it is understood that this arrangement is a matter of design choice; more antennas can be associated with one of more lanes of the multilane traffic pattern consistent with the present disclosure.

Figure 3 is a schematic diagram of components of the vehicle tracking system 100 of Figure 2. In the embodiment shown, an RFID reader 150 has a plurality of antenna ports 152a-d. The antenna ports 152a-d can be any of a number of types of radio frequency (RF) connections, such as coaxial or other wire. The antenna ports 152a-d can be connected to antennas, such as antennas 102a-d, for RF communication as directed by the RFID reader.

In the embodiment shown, three antenna ports 152a-c are utilized for a two-lane vehicle tracking system. A first antenna port 152a is connected to a splitter 154, which in turn connects to antennas 102a and 102c. The splitter is illustrated as a 1x2 radio frequency splitter capable of dividing the signal received from the antenna port 152. Antenna ports 152b and 152c connect to antennas 102b and 102d, respectively.

In use, and as further described below with respect to the four-lane arrangement illustrated in Figures 6-8, the RFID reader 352 can be configured to cyclically activate each of its antenna ports 352a-d, one at a time, to transmit an RFID read request on each port and await a response. Based on the combination

and connection of antennas illustrated in Figure 3, an RFID tag (e.g. RFID tag 10) passing through the first traffic lane 304a of Figure 2 will receive signals from antennas 302a and 302b as those antennas are cyclically activated to transmit RFID read requests and receive response signals from any tags present.

The signals from any RFID tag will be received at antenna ports 152a and 152b based on the connection of antennas illustrated in Figures 2 and 3. Based on the fact that these antenna ports detected the RFID tag 10, the RFID reader can conclude that the RFID tag is in the first traffic lane 104a. Similarly, an RFID tag passing through the second traffic lane 104b will receive read request signals and will be detected by cyclically activated antennas 102c and 102d, which are connected to antenna ports 152a and 152c, respectively. The RFID reader 150 can therefore conclude that the RFID tag is in the second traffic lane 104b based on the responses at antenna ports 152a and 152c identifying a common RFID tag.

The RFID reader 150 can be any of a number of RFID reader devices having a plurality of antenna ports and capable of deducing the presence of an RFID tag based on a combination of responses received from multiple antennas in a lane. In certain embodiments, the RFID reader can be a four port RFID reader, such as the IDentityTM 5204 AVI reader manufactured by Sirit, Inc. of Toronto, Ontario. Other RFID readers can be used as well.

In addition to being able to track an RFID tag within a lane, the RFID reader 150 can be configured to perform a number of tasks, such as detecting the position of the RFID tag within the lane. Additional details regarding operation of an RFID reader in connection with the various embodiments described herein are provided below in connection with Figures 9 and 10.

Although the cycle time of an RFID reader 150 will vary based on the capabilities of the selected RFID reader, in certain embodiments, the cycle time (time at which a single port is active) for the RFID reader can be approximately 5-30 milliseconds. This would allow detection of traffic at speeds up to 140 miles per hour. The ability to detect RFID tags passing through the antenna fields 106a-d is useful in uncontrolled multilane highway installations where high rates of traffic speed can be expected. In alternative embodiments, a slower or faster cycle time could be used, depending upon the selected reader and expected speed of traffic.

In the embodiment shown Figures 2 and 3, each pair of antennas connected to the same antenna port (e.g., antennas 102a and 102c connected to antenna port 152a) of the RFID reader 150 are associated with different lanes of traffic, allowing the RFID reader to interrogate multiple traffic lanes concurrently.

Referring now to Figures 4 and 5, a possible configuration for a three lane vehicle tracking system 200 is described. ·

Figure 4 is a schematic elevation view of the three lane vehicle tracking system 200. In the embodiment shown, the system 200 includes a plurality of antennas 202a-f, with two antennas associated with each lane of a multilane traffic pattern, as described above in connection with Figure 2. As illustrated, antennas 202a-b are associated with a first traffic lane 204a, antennas 202c-d are associated with a second traffic lane 204b, and antennas 202e-f are associated with a third traffic lane 204c. Each antenna 202a-f has an associated field 206a-f. As previously described, the fields 206a-f are preferably focused on a single lane of traffic, although in certain embodiments the fields can extend into two or more traffic lanes.

Figure 5 is a schematic diagram of components of the vehicle tracking system 200 of Figure 4, according to a possible embodiment. In the embodiment shown, an RFID reader 250 has a plurality of antenna ports, illustrated as antenna ports 252a-d. The RFID reader 250 can be, in certain embodiments, the same type of RFID reader as described above (RFID reader 150) in connection with Figure 3, and can include analogous functionality.

In the embodiment shown, three splitters 254a-c are respectively connected to first, second, and third antenna ports 252a-c. Each splitter is communicatively connected, via an RF connection, to two antennas of the group of antennas 202a-f. In the embodiment shown, splitter 252a connects to antennas 202a and 202c; splitter 252b connects to antennas 202b and 202e; splitter 252c connects to antennas 202d and 202f. Each antenna will broadcast the RFID read request when the associated port of the RFID reader 250 is active, and any present RFID tag will therefore respond to RFID read requests from both antennas associated with the lane in which it resides, as the antenna ports are cyclically activated (as described in Figures 9 and 10 below).

Therefore, in this embodiment, detecting an RFID tag at the first and second antenna ports 252a-b means that the RFID tag is in the first traffic lane 204a, and has been detected by antennas 202a and 202b; detecting an RFID tag at the first and third antenna ports 252a and 252c means that the RFID tag is in the second traffic lane 204b, and has been detected by antennas 202c and 202d; and detecting an RFID tag at the second and third antenna ports 252b-c means that the RFID tag is in the third traffic lane 204c, and has been detected by antennas 202e and 202f.

In certain embodiments, more than two antennas can be associated with each lane of traffic; in such embodiments, additional antennas would be included. Those additional antennas could, in various embodiments, be configured to have associated antenna fields extending into one or more of the lanes of traffic, depending upon the selected implementation. In the embodiment shown, each pair of antennas connected to the same antenna port of the RFID reader 150 are associated with different lanes of traffic, allowing the RFID reader to interrogate multiple traffic lanes concurrently. This configuration is explained below in further detail in conjunction with Figures 8A-8D.

Referring now to Figures 6 and 7, a possible configuration for a four lane vehicle tracking system 300 is described.

Figure 6 illustrates a schematic elevation view of the four lane vehicle tracking system 300. In the embodiment shown, eight antennas 302a-h are installed across four lanes of traffic 304a-d, with two antennas per lane of traffic. In the embodiment shown, antennas 302a-b are associated with a first lane of traffic 304a, antennas 302c-d are associated with a second lane of traffic 304b, antennas 302e-f are associated with a third lane of traffic 304c, and antennas 302g-h are associated with a fourth lane of traffic 304d. Antennas 302a-h have antenna fields 306a-h, respectively, which are directed downward and upstream toward traffic. Each of the antenna fields 306a-h is focused on a single lane of traffic and does not significantly overlap with fields from antennas associated with adjacent lanes. As with above-described, in alternative embodiments, more than two antennas can be associated with each lane and fields can extend outside of a single lane, for example to two or more lanes.

Figure 7 is a schematic diagram of components of the vehicle tracking system of Figure 6. In the embodiment shown, an RFID reader 350 has a plurality of antenna ports, illustrated as antenna ports 352a-d. The RFID reader 350 can be, in certain embodiments, the same type of RFID reader as described above (RFID readers 150, 250) in connection with Figures 3 and 5, and can include analogous functionality.

In the embodiment shown, four 1x2 splitters 354a-d are respectively connected to first, second, third, and fourth antenna ports 352a-d. Each splitter is connected to two antennas of the group of antennas 302a-h. In the embodiment shown, splitter 352a connects to antennas 302a and 302d; splitter 352b connects to antennas 302b and 302e; splitter 352c connects to antennas 302c and 302g; and splitter 352d connects to splitters 302f and 302h.

As with the arrangements of Figures 2-5, each antenna of a pair connected to the same antenna port of the RFID reader 350 is associated with a different lane of traffic, allowing the RFID reader to interrogate multiple traffic lanes concurrently, and allowing the RFID reader to deduce the lane in which an RFID tag resides based on a number of responses from that tag on different antenna ports.

In addition to the embodiments shown in Figures 2-7, other arrangements and combinations of antennas and antenna ports are possible as well. For example, additional antennas could be added per lane, such that three or more antennas are associated with a particular lane of traffic. Additionally, vehicle tracking systems can be provided for additional lanes of traffic as well; such systems may require use of one or more RFID readers or an RFID reader with a sufficient number of antenna ports to support at least two antennas per lane of traffic while allowing unique identification of an RFID tag within lane of traffic depending upon the antenna ports at which RFID tag's responses are received.

Example operation of the vehicle tracking system 300 of Figures 6 and 7 is illustrated in Figures 8A-8D, showing the active antenna fields 306a-h as the antenna ports 352a-d are cyclically activated.

In Figure 8 A, antenna port 352a is activated, causing RFID read requests to be broadcast by antennas 302a and 302d in first and second lanes 304a and 304b (represented by active antenna fields 306a and 306d). A response to the read request by an RFID tag as received at antenna port 352a would mean that the RFID tag is within either the first lane 304a or the second lane 304b.

In Figure 8B, antenna port 352b is active, causing RFID read requests to be broadcast by antennas 302b and 302e in first and third lanes 304a and 304c (represented by active antenna fields 306b and 306e). A response to this read request by an RFID tag as received at antenna port 352b would mean that the RFID tag is within either the first lane 304a or the third lane 304c.

In Figure 8B, antenna port 352b is active, causing RFID read requests to be broadcast by antennas 302b and 302e in first and third lanes 304a and 304c (represented by active antenna fields 306b and 306e). A response to this read request by an RFID tag as received at antenna port 352b would mean that the RFID tag is within either the first lane 304a or the third lane 304c.

In Figure 8C, antenna port 352c is active, causing RFID read requests to be broadcast by antennas 302c and 302g in second and fourth lanes 304b and 304d (represented by active antenna fields 306c and 306g). A response to this read request by an RFID tag as received at antenna port 352c would mean that the RFID tag is within either the second lane 304b or the fourth lane 304d.

In Figure 8D, antenna port 352d is active, causing RFID read requests to be broadcast by antennas 302f and 302h in third and fourth lanes 304c and 304d (represented by active antenna fields 306f and 306h). A response to this read request by an RFID tag as received at antenna port 352d would mean that the RFID tag is within either the third lane 304c or the fourth lane 304d.

In the embodiment shown, activation of the antenna ports 352a-d is allowed to occur by the RFID reader 350 such that only one antenna port is active at any given time. Although in the embodiments illustrated above the activations occur sequentially (e.g., antenna port 352a followed by antenna port 352b, etc.) other orders could be used as well. As described above, the duration for which the RFID reader 350 allows each antenna port to remain active can vary, but in certain embodiments can be approximately 5-30 milliseconds.

Responses received from any RFID tag can be stored and analyzed at the RFID reader 350, which can determine a unique lane for a given RFID tag. For example, if an RFID tag responds with its identifier to RFID read requests from first and second antenna ports 352a and 352b, it can be deduced that the RFID tag is in the first lane of traffic 304a. Analogous deductions occur with respect to other lanes of traffic and other RFID tags detected. Analogous sequencing to that illustrated in Figures 8 A-8D can be implemented in arrangements having two, three, or five or more traffic lanes as well.

Referring now to Figures 9 and 10, flowcharts of methods useable in the vehicle detection systems of the present disclosure are described.

Figure 9 is a flowchart of a method 400 for detecting the presence of an RFID tag. Method 400 generally describes a process operating within an RFID reader, such as RFID readers 150, 250, 350 described above, to activate antenna ports and detect RFID tags. Certain embodiments of method 400 can be

implemented in a reader to accomplish the sequence of antenna activations described above in connection with Figures 8A-8D, or analogous sequences.

The method 400 is instantiated at a start operation 402, which generally corresponds to initial connection of an RFID reader to a set of antennas associated with a multilane traffic pattern. A configure operation 404 corresponds to configuring one or more settings in the RFID reader. For example, in certain embodiments the RFID reader can be configurable to select a number of active antenna ports from among the total number of available antenna ports, or can be configured to adjust the cycle time between antenna ports, or the

sequence/combination in which the ports are activated. Other settings can be configured as well.

An activate operation 406 activates a first antenna port of the RFID reader according to the settings defined during the configure operation 404. The activation operation 406 transmits a RFID read request to the active antenna port, and therefore to antennas connected thereto.

A response to the read request will be received at any antenna connected to the antenna port if there is an RFID tag present within a field of any antenna transmitting the RFID read request, and therefore the response will be received at the antenna port of the RFID reader. Therefore, an optional response detection operation 408 stores a received response from an RFID tag, including

characteristics of the response such as an identifier of the tag and the phase angle of the response. Other characteristics of the response can be captured and stored for analysis as well.

A port change operation 410 switches the currently- active antenna port of the reader to the next port in the sequence, and will return control flow to the activate operation 406 for activating a next antenna port of the RFID reader.

Operational flow of method 400 will cycle among the activate operation 406, optional detection operation 408, and port change operation 410, causing RFID read request signals to be sent on each active antenna port of the RFID reader in cyclical sequence, the timing and order of which can be set during the configure operation 404. Upon completed operation (e.g., shutdown of the RFID reader), operation of the method 400 will halt at an end operation 412.

Figure 10 is a flowchart of a method 500 for associating an RFID tag with a lane of a multilane traffic arrangement. The method 500 is useable, for example, with the detected RFID tag records obtained by cycling through antenna ports of an RFID reader, as described in conjunction with the method 400 of Figure 9.

The method 500 is instantiated at a start operation 502, which corresponds to initial analysis of RFID tag responses. The start operation 502 may occur upon initial operation of an RFID reader, once the RFID reader begins receiving responses from RFID tags, or after data collection has completed. A response parsing operation 504 analyzes responses from RFID tags to determine the identity of the tag and the port at which the response is received. If a tag is detected at two different ports, a determination assignment operation 506 branches "yes" to a lane assignment operation 508. The lane assignment operation 508 can then determine the lane through which the RFID tag has passed based on the combination of antenna ports detecting the same tag.

If the tag is not detected at two different antenna ports, operational flow from the determination assignment operation 506 branches "NO" indicating that the RFID reader will not be able to uniquely determine which lane the RFID tag has passed through.

Optionally, after determining the lane through which the RFID tag has passed, it may be useful to determine the location within the lane at which the RFID tag resides. This may be useful to monitor the RFID tag's speed through the lane, or relative location within the lane. A determination operation 510 determines position of the RFID tag using a phase angle of the received response at one or more of the antenna ports receiving a response from that RFID tag.

Any of a number of known mathematical procedures can be used to perform this operation. One example method to compute and compensate for phase angle in an RFID receiver circuit of an RFID reader is to determine the relative velocity of the vehicle using the change in phase angle (Doppler affect). The relative velocity measurement at any given time on two different antennas correlates to the ratio of the angles formed from the path of the tag and antenna. Since the separation of the antennas is known, the angle ratio can then be used to calculate the position in the lane. Operational flow terminates at an end operation 512 after any information about the RFID tag is extracted and stored for further processing (e.g. charging a toll to the owner of the RFID tag, traffic logging, or other operations).

Referring to Figure 10 generally, the method 500 can be performed with respect to a subset or all tag responses received at the RFID reader and, therefore, can be executed a number of times depending upon the number of responses received. Additional operations can also be added if more information is required of the particular RFID tag or response analyzed. For example, an estimated velocity of the vehicle associated with the particular RFID tag can also be calculated.

Overall, using the systems and methods disclosed herein, improved operational efficiency is accomplished by use of multiple antennas per lane, and by interrogating multiple lanes per operational cycle, due to connection of multiple antennas to an antenna port of a single reader. Other advantages, including consolidated processing of RFID read responses, are achieved as well.

Generally, consistent with embodiments of the disclosure, the RFID readers of the present disclosure can include one or more programmable circuits capable of executing program modules. Program modules may include routines, programs, components, data structures, and other types of structures that may

perform particular tasks or that may implement particular abstract data types.

Moreover, embodiments of the disclosure may be practiced with other computer system configurations, including hand-held devices, multiprocessor systems, microprocessor-based or programmable consumer electronics, minicomputers, mainframe computers, and the like. Embodiments of the disclosure may also be practiced in distributed computing environments where tasks are performed by remote processing devices that are linked through a communications network. In a distributed computing environment, program modules may be located in both local and remote memory storage devices.

Furthermore, embodiments of the disclosure may be practiced in various types of electrical circuits comprising discrete electronic elements, packaged or integrated electronic chips containing logic gates, a circuit utilizing a

microprocessor, or on a single chip containing electronic elements or

microprocessors. Embodiments of the disclosure may also be practiced using other technologies capable of performing logical operations such as, for example, AND, OR, and NOT, including but not limited to mechanical, optical, fluidic, and quantum technologies. In addition, aspects of the methods described herein can be practiced within a general purpose computer or in any other circuits or systems.

Embodiments of the present disclosure can be implemented as a computer process (method), a computing system, or as an article of manufacture, such as a computer program product or computer readable media. The computer program product may be a computer storage media readable by a computer system and encoding a computer program of instructions for executing a computer process. Accordingly, embodiments of the present disclosure may be embodied in hardware and/or in software (including firmware, resident software, micro-code, etc.). In other words, embodiments of the present disclosure may take the form of a computer program product on a computer-usable or computer-readable storage medium having computer-usable or computer-readable program code embodied in the medium for use by or in connection with an instruction execution system. A computer-usable or computer-readable medium may be any medium that can contain, store,

communicate, propagate, or transport the program for use by or in connection with the instruction execution system, apparatus, or device.

Embodiments of the present disclosure, for example, are described above with reference to block diagrams and/or operational illustrations of methods, systems, and computer program products according to embodiments of the disclosure. The functions/acts noted in the blocks may occur out of the order as shown in any flowchart. For example, two blocks shown in succession may in fact be executed substantially concurrently or the blocks may sometimes be executed in the reverse order, depending upon the functionality/acts involved.

While certain embodiments of the disclosure have been described, other embodiments may exist. Furthermore, although embodiments of the present disclosure have been described as being associated with data stored in memory and other storage mediums, data can also be stored on or read from other types of computer-readable media. Further, the disclosed methods' stages may be modified in any manner, including by reordering stages and/or inserting or deleting stages, without departing from the overall concept of the present disclosure.

The above specification, examples and data provide a complete description of the manufacture and use of example embodiments of the present disclosure. Many embodiments of the disclosure can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the disclosure.