A vehicle tracking system gives your business the ability to track your vehicles location in real time predominately using GPS tracking. You can use vehicle tracking to help with deliveries, the planning of your sales team, the schedules of your engineers.
Vehicle tracking will make your vehicles and their users more efficient, reducing cost and increasing productivity.
Why would my business benefits from using Vehicle Tracking?
- Vehicle Tracking can help reduce vehicle running costs by helping reduce fuel costs and making journeys more efficient
- You can keep track of and manage your vehicle servicing requirements
- Insurance companies will often offer reduced fleet insurance when you use vehicle tracking
- With vehicle tracking you can start to manage driver productivity, keeping an eye on unscheduled stops and long breaks
- You can keep your customers informed with regards to delivery times because you know where your vehicles are if they have vehicle tracking
- You no longer have to call your drivers to find out where they are – you know
- You can train new drivers and maximise productivity by using information from your best performing drivers
- With vehicle tracking all your driver information is available in one place so you are always aware of what’s happening to your fleet
What is vehicle tracking?
Basically a vehicle tracking system is a small electronic device installed in you car, commercial vehicle, HGV or plant equipment, which gives you or a tracking company, the ability to track the vehicle’s location.
Vehicle tracking systems generally use Global Positioning System (GPS) to locate the vehicle although there’s also a Radio Frequency (RF) product available on the market too. Whether you use GPS Vehicle Tracking or RF Vehicle Tracking will depend on what you want from your system.
If you’re a fleet manager you should opt for the GPS service, also known as Satellite Tracking. GPS tracking products can track multiple vehicles at the same time and transmit the information directly to your computer in real time. It can tell you where the vehicle is, how fast it is travelling as well aswhether the driver is revving the engine too much or how hard they are breaking etc; giving you the ability to work with the drivers to help modify driving techniques, to save on fuel consumption and wear and tear.
With a GPS system it is important to remember that the vehicles are monitored by satellites circling the earth and they rely on line of sight, which means they have to be able to see the vehicle in order to track it. If the vehicle goes into a garage, tunnel or building the vehicle tracking system will not be able to let you know what the vehicle is doing. This is can also apply when vehicles are in a major built up area where the signal may be intermittent. To resolve these issues some vehicle tracking systems have both an active and passive tracking.
For companies with one or two vehicles, or where you don’t need to know the exact movement of the vehicles, or where you are simply concerned about the vehicles being stolen, an RF vehicle tracking system would be more appropriate.
In an RF vehicle tracking systems, often referred to as a Vehicle Locator Unit (VLU), a small radio transceiver is installed in the vehicle. This remains inactive until it is reported that the vehicle is stolen or until the vehicle needs to be located. When this happens a signal is sent out to activate the VLU, this in turn sends out signals to local receivers which, depending on the type of VLU, will estimate from a few miles to a few hundred feet, the location of the vehicle. Vehicle location is shown on a computerised map which means relevant people (the police etc) can be directed to the position. With the aid of a mobile tracking device the exact location can be pinpoint even if the vehicles hidden in a garage.
I have heard the expressions “active” and “passive” tracking, what’s the difference?
There are several types of Vehicle Tracking systems but they are usually categorised as either active or passive.
Active tracking collects GPS location, vehicle speed, and direction as well as monitor events such as the turning on and off of the engine, the opening and closing of doors etc. This information is transmitted, in real-time, via cellular or satellite networks to a computer or data centre for evaluation.
Passive tracking devices will store the same information as the active tracking system. When the vehicle returns to base the device can either be taken out of the vehicle where you can transfer the data to your computer or some passive tracking systems can wirelessly transfer this data for evaluation.
There are vehicle tracking devices which will combine both active and passive tracking capabilities. This is useful because if the cellular network is not available the active tracking system will switch to passive mode and the system will store the relevant data, then automatically download the information when the network is available again.