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Out beyond the horizon
Date:9/22/2007

swift transit of goods around the world can have a rippling effect on the worlds economy.

MATTS DHS S&Ts Marine Asset Tag Tracking System is a miniature sensor, data logging computer, radio transceiver, and GPS tracking system integrated into a compact and inexpensive black box, about the size of a deck of cards. Affixed to a shipping container, MATTS can use its on-board GPS chip to estimate its location if the GPS signal is lost. And, in the final version of the system, containers outfitted with MATTS tags will be able to transmit through shipboard communications systems, even if they are placed deep below deck. The tags signal will jump from container to container until it finds a path it can use. Better yet, this black box stores its location history and reports it back when in range (up to 1 km) of an Internet equipped ship, container terminal, or a cell phone tower. At any point in a containers journey, its history can be examined, and if anything has gone amiss, authorities know instantly to scrutinize that particular container.

Ultimately, MATTS will be integrated with S&Ts Advanced Container Security Device. The ACSD sends an alert through MATTS when a container has been opened or tampered with on any side, providing even more security.

MATTS will globally communicate in-transit alerts to Customs and Border Protection, and this capability satisfies a high-priority CBP requirement, says Bob Knetl, Program Manager for the MATTS research within S&Ts Borders and Maritime Division.

In late April 2007, one hundred MATTS-equipped containers started out in the Port of Yokohama, Japan, and are now making their trans-Pacific crossing to the Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach, where they will then continue by rail to the Rochelle, Illinois, Rail Terminal and be unloaded and trucked to their final destination. This test, ending in August, will demonstrate that the communications can be used internationally (in this case, by J
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Contact: Gail Cleere
gail.cleere@dhs.gov
202-255-4070
US Department of Homeland Security - Science and Technology
Source:Eurekalert

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