Friday, 16 April 2010

There are two distinct types of vehicle tracking

Vehicle tracking also know as GPS  vehicle tracking, GPS Tracking or Satellite Tracking is a major part of many vehicle telematics solutions.  GPS Vehicle Tracking is technology which enables the user to remotely locate and track the movements, status and behaviour of cars, vans or heavy goods lorries.

Generally speaking, when the term vehicle tracking is used, it refers to the scenarios outlined above.  However, there are actually  two distinct types of vehicle tracking.  Some products on the market are a hybrid of both AVL and EATS technology.  However industry practice has tended to lean towards a separation of these functions.  It is worth taking note that vehicle tracking products tend to fall in to one, not both of the technologies.
vehicle tracking cartoonA.V.L (Automatic Vehicle Location)

Automatic Vehicle Location technology is predominately used  when applying vehicle tracking to fleet or driver management solutions. The unit is configured to automatically transmit it’s location at a set time interval, e.g. every 5 minutes. The unit is activated when the ignition is switched on/off.
The use of Automatic Vehicle Location is given in the following scenario;  A car breaks down by the side of the road.  The roadside recovery company has equipped its fleet with GPS Vehicle Tracking.  It has several vehicles operating in the area.  Without needing to call each driver to check his location the dispatcher can use his Vehicle Tracking System to pinpoint his nearest vehicle and assign it to the new job.  If you were to incorporate, in addition to GPS Vehicle Tracking, the other aspects of vehicle telematics into this scenario; the dispatcher, rather than phoning the recovery vehicle operative, could transmit the job details directly to the operative’s mobile data device, who would then use the in-vehicle satellite navigation to aid his journey to the job.

E.A.T.S (Events Activated Tracking system)

This type of system is primarily used in connection with vehicle or driver security solutions. If, for example a thief breaks into your car and attempts to steal it, the tracking system can be triggered by the immobiliser unit or motion sensor being activated. A monitoring bureau, will then be automatically notified that the unit has been activated and begin tracking the vehicle.
Events activated Vehicle Tracking technology  is predominately used when applying vehicle tracking to vehicle security solutions.  An example of this distinction is given in the following scenario;  A construction company owns some pieces of plant machinery that are regularly left unattended, at weekends, on building sites. Thieves break onto one site and a piece equipment, such as a digger, is loaded on the back of a flat bed truck and then driven away.  Typically the ignition wouldn’t need to be turned on and as such most of the AVL products available wouldn’t typically be activated. Only products that included a unit that was activated by a motion sensor or GeoFence alarm event, would be activated.  Both AVL and EATS systems track, but for different purposes.

Regular topic and content updates are available here or shown now in full over at What are Vehicle Telematics and Vehicle Tracking? on the UK Telematics Online website.

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Google Latitude Test _ Matthew and Heather go to Belarus

My wife and I are driving to Belarus to take Christmas presents to the children of the Rechitsa Orphanage in Gomel Region Belarus. We leave via Harwich/Hook of Holland on New Year's Day. Our route will include - Hook of Holland, Berlin, Warsaw, Rogachev, Gomel and Rechitsa. Google Latitiude is an application which, once installed on a compatible mobile phone, will update the phone location to the online google latitude page. If you want to share and view locations with friends and have a free google account, then login, add Latitude to your igoogle dashboard and add friends using their email address. The accuracy of the location provided by Google Latitude is dependent on a number of factors; proximity to mobile phone cell towers, GPS coverage, Data connection between phone and Google Latitude and the phone privacy settings. Accuracy of location radius distances can vary greatly, from anything between a few metres and a couple of kilometres. The trip to Belarus will be a great test of all the factors.

Regular topic and content updates are available here or shown now in full over at What are Vehicle Telematics and Vehicle Tracking? on the UK Telematics Online website.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Google Offers Free Satellite Navigation On Android Phones

Google has announced a free satellite navigation application and free music search in smartphones that operates through Google’s Android operating system. It will be initially available in US, on Motorola Droid phone, which employs Google’s Android 2.0 software. This new navigation system will add real time directions, Google street view photos, voice technology and real-time traffic data.  Unlike TomTom and Garmin GPS Satellite Navigation, Google Maps Navigation Application Google Maps Navigation uses your phone's internet connection to give you the latest maps and business data.

Extract from news.CNET
The application works like any navigation system that you may have used, but it combines Google Search and Google Maps functions that are normally only available on the desktop and brings them to the smartphone. Perhaps the most interesting and useful feature comes from Google Street View, allowing Google to provide a Street View image at every turn that the application suggests during your journey.

As with other navigation applications, users can search for gas stations or restaurants along the way, and get real-time traffic information. Google also developed a unique "arms-length" user interface that automatically pops up when the software detects that it has been placed into a dashboard holder, with bigger buttons and links to voice controls front and center.

Obviously, Google is not the first to offer a combination of turn-by-turn maps and Web services. Many different smartphone applications provide this type of navigation service, and companies like Garmin and TomTom are also working to embed Web-delivered data into their on-dash and built-in navigation systems.

But the price for Google Maps Navigation--free--will be tough to beat. Expect to see ads pop up at a later date, although they won't be present at launch.

Google doesn't plan to open-source the application but does plan to make it free on Android 2.0 phones, and implied that the application would be free for other partners as they cut deals to use the application. That could dramatically reduce the cost of developing navigation services, undercutting the established industry with a product that consumers already know very well: there are 50 million active users of Google Mobile Maps, Gundotra said.

Google is not sure whether Google Maps Navigation will work on older Android phones that will get upgraded to Android 2.0. That depends on the carrier and phone maker, Gundotra said.

Regular topic and content updates are available here or shown now in full over at What are Vehicle Telematics and Vehicle Tracking? on the UK Telematics Online website.