Canada-based company IQonboard has developed a ground-breaking Bluetooth LE-enabled beacon tag, known as the IQtag, which introduces the world's first self-loading digital manifest. Through extensive field testing in various sectors such as aviation, wildfire management, mining, and personnel transport, IQtag has demonstrated its capabilities for remote operations. The IQonboard system consists of the IQtag beacon tag, a small and lightweight industrial device, along with the IQonboard app designed for iOS smartphones and tablets. Powered by the Nordic Semiconductor nRF52832 SoC-based 'I-SYST Blyst Nano' module, the IP67-rated IQtag is water-resistant, dustproof, and crushproof, making it a durable wearable solution.
When allocated and attached to work clothing or cargo, each IQtag can be easily configured and programmed to transmit crucial information, including the names and weights of crew members, cargo, and passengers. This data is then sent to the onboard app via Bluetooth LE connectivity provided by the nRF52832 SoC-based I-SYST module, offering real-time visibility of the individuals and items onboard the transport. Pilots and dispatchers benefit from accurate weight and balance calculations, while ground operations gain access to automatically generated flight manifests. This innovative system streamlines communication, reduces reliance on radio calls, eliminates the need for manual calculations and data entry, and ultimately transforms manifest reporting into a significant operational advantage.
The IQonboard solution primarily aims to enhance aviation safety and alleviate pilot workload, particularly in helicopter operations involving air ambulance services, search and rescue missions, oil and gas transportation, tourism, executive/VIP transport, and firefighting activities. One notable application is during emergency response operations, such as wildfire fighting, where government organizations hire helicopters, necessitating the communication of comprehensive aircraft manifests for every leg of a flight to the dispatch centre. IQtag enables automation of this process by assigning tags to crew members and cargo items, including firefighters. As the tagged individuals and equipment are loaded onto the helicopter, the onboard app scans all the manifest tags, subsequently relaying the manifest and total payload weight to a web-based dashboard via LTE-M cellular IoT or satellite connectivity.
Powered by the robust 64 MHz, 32-bit Arm Cortex M4 processor with a floating-point unit (FPU) of the nRF52832 SoC, IQtag provides efficient data processing capabilities. It utilizes a CR2450 battery, delivering an estimated one-year battery life under constant operation, subject to ambient temperature. This impressive endurance owes credit to the low power consumption characteristics of the I-SYST module. Additionally, in the helicopter industry, the adoption of this technology presents environmental benefits by reducing fuel costs and emissions associated with manual manifest reporting methods, where helicopters often remain running and burning jet fuel during radio communication. The implementation of IQtag revolutionizes the traditional workflow, offering a more sustainable and efficient approach for manifest reporting in the aviation sector.