What are Vehicle Telematics Systems?
A vehicle telematics system integrates computer technology, GPS tracking, and possibly cellular/satellite networks, all into one platform that is generally used in cars, trucks, and haulage vehicles. This may also be referred to as in-vehicle electronics or on-board technology. Common examples of telematics include mobile data, GPS navigation, and vehicle tracking.
Modern vehicle telematics systems have mobile data capabilities allowing them to wirelessly communicate with other devices similar to a cell phone. As this new technology advances, companies are constantly finding more applications to improve their business. The major benefit of mobile data, as it relates to telematics, is the ability to take vehicle information (discussed further down) and transmit it to any capable device with an internet connection for evaluation.
Satellite GPS Navigation
Many new cars have GPS and satellite navigation systems factory installed making paper maps a thing of the past. These systems may even be a standard feature in year’s to come. The Global Positioning System (GPS) works by syncing devices with 24 to 32 space satellites that transmit two things: time of transmission and satellite position at the time of transmission. The receiving device calculates the time it takes to send the transmission to each device, and these figures are plugged into algorithms to compute the position of the receiving device (i.e. your GPS navigation system). Cellular GPS works differently, applying rules of triangulation with cellular towers location to find devices. However, cellular GPS is limited to the availability of towers, whereas Satellite GPS is available anywhere on Earth.
Vehicle, Trailer, and Asset Tracking
Tracking technology allows companies with vehicles and assets to know the real-time location of their inventory. These businesses are usually in the logistics or transportation industry. Common vehicle tracking devices plug into the OBDII port or are hardwired into the vehicle, as well as being enabled to work with GPS and oftentimes cellular networks. This technology helps managers fleet managers obtain real-time vehicle and driver information such as location, speed, job status, two-way messaging, automated alerts (idling, speeding, braking, etc), reports, and more. These devices are designed to minimize human error, and many organizations quickly find that can improve their efficiency and reduce costs by cutting down route times, wasteful idling, and unapproved side trips.
The main purpose of this technology is to take control from the driver and give it to the manager, which prevents negative employee behaviors. Additionally, drivers are unable to stray too far from their assigned route which saves fuel costs and time. Another benefit of a GPS tracking system is to improve security by eliminating theft, preventing accidents, and reducing speeding fines. Trailer tracking and asset tracking provide similar benefits, but usually operate on a battery depending on if the trailer or asset is non-powered.
Vehicle tracking is rapidly growing with more and more companies experiencing decreased costs and increased productivity. Additionally, fleet managers enjoy peace of mind being able to monitor their business from any capable device with an internet connection, as well as automated alerts instantly notifying them if something is wrong. A recent survey conducted found that 60% of fleet drivers do not mind having their vehicle tracked, and good employees often encourage it as their hard work is noticed.