Transparent Prototype

The Transparent Prototype is a project in the automotive industry to track and trace test vehicles and prototype parts using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology.

Objectives of the project

The objective of the project “Transparent Prototype” is the tracking and tracing of test vehicles and prototype parts via Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) . [1] During the development phase, prototype vehicles are subject to continuous change and reassembly. Currently, these changes are still documented by using barcodes or data matrix codes . The “Transparent Prototype” aims to substitute these manual procedures with RFID. This is done with so called RFID gates (see figure). Apart from RFID the project “Transparent Prototype” also addresses enhanced electronical data interchange ( EDI ) among automotive manufacturers.

Methodological approach

In the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) established the cross-company working group “Transparent Prototype”. The working group developed the industry recommendation VDA 5509, [4] which describes the process and technical solutions for tracking and tracing test vehicles and prototype parts with RFID. Both have been described in many practical and scientific publications. [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]

Prevalence in the automotive industry

The RFID-based tracking & tracing of RFID has been implemented extensively since 2013/2014. Known users are the Volkswagen, Porsche, and Audi brands of Volkswagen Group . Since 2017 the Volkswagen Group is supplied by approximately 280 suppliers with RFID labeled components [11] . RFID in the Automotive Industry [12] and RFID Standards in the context of Industry 4.0 . [13] [14]


  1. Jump up^ Peppel, Florian; Müller, Martin; Wolff, Hanno (2013). Gläserner Prototyp – RFID-gestützte Bauzustandsdokumentation im automobilen Prototypenbau. Tagungsband der 16. IFF Wissenschaftstage, Magdeburg.
  2. Jump up^ Spinnarke, Sabine (2015). Bei Volkswagen hat es gefunkt – Mit dem, gläsernen Prototyp ‘gibt Volkswagen den Startschuss für Industry 4.0. Produktion, September.
  3. Jump up^ Denkers, Jan Phillip (2015). RFID und eLisa schaffen Transparenz im Prototypenbau. RFID im Blick, November.
  4. Jump up^ VDA (2015). AutoID / RFID-Einsatz und Datentransfer zur Verfolgung von Bauteilen und Komponenten in der Fahrzeugentwicklung, December.
  5. Jump up^ Peppel, Florian; Müller, Martin; Silveira, Miguel; Schmidt, Malta (2014). From Theory into Practice – Implementing RFID-Driven Track & Trace Concepts in the Vehicle Development Process. 16. Forschungskolloquium am Fraunhofer IFF, Magdeburg.
  6. Jump up^ Schmidt, Malta (2013). Migration vom Barcode zur passiven RFID-Technology in der automobilen Logistik – Exemplarische Untersuchung am Beispiel eines Automobilherstellers. Dissertation, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen.
  7. Jump up^ Autogramm (2013). Vom Lebenslauf der Teile – Projekt Gläserner Prototyp: RFID-Transponder schaffen Transparenz. Autogramm, April.
  8. Jump up^ Van Bocxlaer, Anja (2014). Gläserner Prototyp – Prototypenbau als Innovationstreiber for RFID-Einsatz. RFID im Blick, April.
  9. Jump up^ Autogramm (2015). Die Infrastruktur steht – Das Projekt Gläserner Prototyp sorgt für Transparenz und Effizienz. Autogramm, January.
  10. Jump up^ Swedberg, Claire (2015). Porsche Uses RFID to Track Prototype Testing, Improve Security. RFID-Journal, February.
  11. Jump up^ VW (2017). Volkswagen setzt auf RFID-Technology. VW-Pressemitteilung, Januar.
  12. Jump up^ Schmidt, Malta (2015). Volkswagen AG forges ahead with Transparent Prototype. RFID Journal, October.
  13. Jump up^ Automotive IT (2015). Autoindustrie einigt sich auf RFID-Standards. Automotive IT, April.
  14. Jump up^ Van Bocxlaer, Anja (2015). Standards sind eine tragende Säule von Industry 4.0. RFID im Blick, July.

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