A UAV and Blockchain-Based System for Industry 4.0 Inventory and Traceability Applications

Industry 4.0 has paved the way for a world where smart factories will automate and upgrade many processes through the use of some of the latest emerging technologies. One such technology is Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), which have evolved a great deal in the last several years in terms of technology (e.g., control units, sensors, UAV frames) and have reduced significantly their cost. UAVs can help industry in automatable and tedious tasks, like the ones performed on a regular basis for determining the inventory and for preserving the traceability of certain items.
Authors: Tiago M. Fernández-Caramés, Oscar Blanco-Novoa, Manuel Suárez-Albela and Paula Fraga-Lamas
 
Journal: Proceedings 2019, 4(1), 26
 
Publisher: MDPI 
 
Abstract
 
Industry 4.0 has paved the way for a world where smart factories will automate and upgrade many processes through the use of some of the latest emerging technologies. One such technology is Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), which have evolved a great deal in the last several years in terms of technology (e.g., control units, sensors, UAV frames) and have reduced significantly their cost. UAVs can help industry in automatable and tedious tasks, like the ones performed on a regular basis for determining the inventory and for preserving the traceability of certain items. Moreover, in such tasks, it is essential to determine whether the collected information is valid or true, especially when it comes from untrusted third-parties.
 

Photo: Proposed communications architecture (credits: Tiago M. Fernández-Caramés, Oscar Blanco-Novoa, Manuel Suárez-Albela and Paula Fraga-Lamas)

Photo: Experimental setup (credits: Tiago M. Fernández-Caramés, Oscar Blanco-Novoa, Manuel Suárez-Albela and Paula Fraga-Lamas)

In such a case, blockchain, another Industry 4.0 technology that has become very popular in other fields like finance, has the potential to provide a higher level of transparency, security, trust and efficiency in the supply chain and enable the use of smart contracts. Thus, in this paper, the design and preliminary results are presented of a UAV-based system aimed at automating the inventory and keeping the traceability of industrial items attached to Radio-Frequency IDentification (RFID) tags. Such a system can use a blockchain to receive the inventory data collected by UAVs, validate them, ensure their trustworthiness and make them available to the interested parties.
 
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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