Mesh Assisted Devices for Real-Time Asset Tracking (MADRAT)
Dr. Billo, Associate Vice President for Research; Professor of Computer Science and Engineering. This project also involves Dr. Hochwald, of the Electrical Engineering Department.
While the advancement of technologies such as GPS and location data based on cell coverage have improved the capabilities of tracking shipments in recent decades, a gap in coverage particularly while cargo is on the ocean still remains due to the cost and technical hurdles. Tracking the shipments of cargo in real-time has historically been cost-prohibitive and reserved for big-ticket items only. Additionally, the placement of a container inside of an ocean-going vessel typically obscures a direct line of sight to satellites and as a result, the container is tracked via the vessel. In the event that a container is lost or damaged, it is unknown to the owner of the cargo until the ship arrives at its destination. The ability to provide container-specific data through a system independent of GPS and cellular service offers a solution to these problems and provides cargo owners, insurers, and carriers a level of transparency and the ability to know location and cargo-specific data in real-time.
The proposed MADRAT product can be utilized to track the location, temperature, humidity, and acceleration of shipping containers and their cargo in real-time. MADRAT utilizes long-range, low power wireless communications technology (LoRa), RFID, and a self-healing mesh network protocol to operate independently of cellular networks. In this project, students will work alongside Drs. Hochwald and Billo to design the hardware, network, and software architectures of a system that will ultimately have the capability to track items in real-time anyplace in the world.
The REU participant’s skills need to include completed coursework in programming, database design, network communications and/or wireless communications. Previous lab experience a plus.