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The science known as telematics comes about from the merging of telecommunications and informatics. Its broadest application is in commercial fleet vehicle monitoring. Fleet managers make use of it by installing fleet management software, which falls within the discipline of telematics. This enables them to manage their entire fleet remotely.
How Telematics Works
Telemetry data is stored, received, and sent via a vehicle tracking device placed in commercial fleet vehicles. These vehicles have a CAN-BUS port, and an onboard diagnostics system that is operated through a SIM card. It communicates via a wireless network with an onboard modem. Transmission of data takes place through General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), satellite, a cell phone network, or mobile data. This is then interpreted and displayed by the server on specific apps or websites. The information can be viewed on a tablet or smartphone.
Along with GPS information, the data collected includes faults in vehicles, fuel usage, harsh braking or acceleration, idling time, and speed. Telematics information reveals isolated incidents as well as patterns affecting the whole fleet. The fleet manager needs to know how to analyze the data. The telematics companies responsible for installation will provide training to fleet managers.
We will now look at how fleet managers can use their telematics systems.
There are a number of ways to track commercial fleet vehicles: cloud computing, GPRS networks, and GPS receivers and satellites. The information from a GPS receiver is transmitted via GPS satellites to navigation systems or through GPRS to servers on the website where it is monitored. Tracking information can be used to determine which driver is closest to make a delivery or carry out an order. It can also convey data about drivers who are not where they are supposed to be.
Trailer and Asset Tracking
Non-motorized assets such as trailers can be monitored via a GPS device fixed to them. This can help to prevent loss or theft and make finding these assets easier. When a trailer is unhitched from its vehicle, the location can be recorded in the GPS unit attached to the vehicle. The trailer’s location can then be identified for collection by another vehicle. If this is done without being authorized, the system will send an alert to the fleet manager’s cell phone device immediately.
With a record of the hours a vehicle has been used is measured by the system, the fleet manager can schedule maintenance. Preventative maintenance can improve the life cycle of these assets. The system can also monitor warranties and service records and track the hours of use of engines. Other aspects it can track are oxygen sensors, intake valves, powertrain malfunctions, coolant temperatures, and battery voltage for diagnostics of engines. This allows repairs to be carried out before a breakdown occurs, hence cutting costs and ensuring that vehicles remain in a safe condition.
Tracking Unsafe Driving
Fleet managers can keep track of bad driving practices, such as speeding and failure to use a seat belt. Individual employees can be called to task and given additional training. Fleet safety can be improved.
Telematics gives fleet managers control of their fleets.