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Tracking: How does a vehicle tracking device work?
For any company that runs a fleet of business vehicles, a tracking system will really take out the hassle associated with managing them, as well as improve efficiency and save you money. And tracking devices are cheaper and easier to install than you might think.
Basics of vehicle tracking devices
Car tracking devices mainly work via GPS satellite navigation, although in some cases a radio frequency or cellular network can be used if GPS coverage is poor. The actual setup is really very simple; each vehicle transmits a signal to orbiting satellites which relay this information back to a specified computer. The vehicle information is then displayed on maps, allowing you to monitor speed and exact whereabouts.
Tracking devices for vehicles can be either active or passive (although often a combination of both methods will be used):
- A passive vehicle tracking device starts relaying journey information once the vehicle is turned on or the door is opened. GPS data, speed and heading are then recorded. Once the vehicle is returned to a set base, this information is downloaded.
- With an active car tracking device the same information is transmitted in real time without the need for docking. So vehicles can be constantly traced, even when tracking devices are turned off. If a connection is poor and data can’t be transmitted, many car tracking devices will revert to a passive system, to complete data transfer when the connection is better.
A typical tracking system for business vehicles will be made up of the following components:
- GPS tracking device located in the vehicle (the transmitter). This is discreetly fitted in each car or van on the system and transmits information. You can choose to receive a wealth of data reports, such as speed, fuel consumption, tyre pressure, engine status, route information, engine idling and headlight use to name just a few. GPS is a global system, so data can be relayed from anywhere in the world.
- Tracking server or software. This receives the information transmitted via satellite from the vehicle to those who are authorised to view it on their computer. The whole process happens almost instantly.
- The user interface is the means by which the information can be interacted with. Usually this will take the form of maps displayed on a computer screen.
A business vehicle tracking system can provide you with a whole wealth of information, making fleet management a much easier process than it otherwise might be. As well as offering security and up to the minute accuracy, your business could really benefit from vehicle tracking solutions that improve operations and customer services. For example, by utilising real-time vehicle tracking and activity reports customers can be given accurate information as to delivery times or pickups. Although with routing systems helping you avoid traffic and find the quickest road, there is no more excuse to be late.