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Acquisition Gives Alien Access To RFID In Airports

Alien Technology, a vendor of radio-frequency identification technology, says it has acquired Quatrotec, a technology provider and systems integrator for commercial aviation and other transportation markets.

Laurie Sullivan

May 23, 2005

1 Min Read

Alien Technology Corp., a vendor of radio-frequency identification technology, reported Monday that it has acquired Quatrotec, a technology provider and systems integrator for commercial aviation and other transportation markets. Financial details of the deal weren't disclosed.

Quatrotec will provide Alien with a clearer path into the aviation market. Alien, for example, makes industry-specific hardware, patent pending, for tracking baggage using RFID. Heading the newly formed, wholly owned subsidiary is Robert McKinley, VP of business development for transportation markets, who joined Alien in January.

At San Francisco International Airport, Quatrotec is working with the Transportation Security Administration on a $1 million project to integrate RFID readers into about 60 computerized scanners that can detect explosives in checked baggage. "Once the system has been certified, the TSA will make it available for use at any location that has similar security requirements," including other airports, McKinley says. "We believe there will be a significant requirement in the future as other airports automate baggage-inspection systems."

By 2008, the RFID hardware market is expected to hit $5.9 billion, with systems for air transportation and airports accounting for $236.4 million, according to research firm Venture Data. Explosive-detection projects under way at airports in Dallas/Fort Worth, Atlanta, and Los Angeles could eventually lead to RFID deployments, McKinley says.

San Francisco International Airport will attach about 100,000 paper luggage tags with RFID chips on checked baggage each month when the system is in place, McKinley estimates. The airport is developing procedures for cargo from parcel shippers such as Federal Express, the U.S. Post Office, and UPS.

Quatrotec's founders have served the air transportation industry for more than 20 years.

This story was modified on May 23.

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