CACI International has filed a patent application for monitoring the contents of sealed shipping containers using ultra wideband (UWB) techniques.
According to the company, this marks the first time data signals have successfully been transmitted from inside a sealed container without modifying the container.
CACI developed the new monitoring methodology in co-operation with Advanced Resources Corporation (ARC) of Culpeper, VA, and Multispectral Solutions (MSSI) of Germantown, MD.
In operation, a wireless UWB transmitter is placed inside a container at the time it is sealed. The device senses conditions such as temperature, humidity, pressure, and security breach, and emits data on this via UWB signals from the sealed container. Once the signal is received, processes will be applied to collect and interpret the data, enabling users to identify the container’s location, its exposure to temperature and humidity, and whether or not it has been tampered with.
CACI’s container tag was successfully tested under the sponsorship of the US Navy’s Automatic Identification Technology Project Office at the US Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP).
Applications for the military include logistics support in locations like the Middle East, where difficult transport conditions make it critical to assess the condition of incoming supplies such as ammunition. Within the US, the technology can help secure millions of cargo containers that enter the US each year, enabling agencies like the US Customs Service and Coast Guard to monitor container breach and assure that, for example, drugs or explosives are not carried in with otherwise legitimate cargo.
In the case of hazardous materials, the transmitters can alert users to leakage or damage before dangerous toxicity levels are reached, and without risking the lives of those who might otherwise have to physically inspect the potential threat.