First it was computer diagnosis codes, then it was diagnostic computers reading fill-on data streams. Now, RIFD technology is being used in a new a computer-control system that can head-off hardware problems. The system โ€” built into a Fiat Stilo โ€” was developed by engineers at the UK's University of Cambridge. Combining sophisticated software with Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) tags placed inside the car's engine, the system can give mechanics a sense of a car's internal state of affairs. Each tag has a separate identification number. As the car is driven at low speed over a small servicing pad with an ultra high-frequency reader and four antennae, the IDs are cross-referenced with a computerized database to, for example, identify parts that should be checked for wear. It could also, for example, be used to identify a particular batch of faulty components in the event of a recall, reducing the need for a large-scale return to dealers. Guess that means no more shady alternators bought in cash from dodgy characters in darkened parking lots. [PhysOrg]