With GPS systems, the routes and locations of vehicles can be tracked live or recorded and documented. With a fleet management system this technology is used in motor vehicles, long haul trucks, heavy equipment and construction vehicles. GPS tracking offers advantages that support efficient and cost-effective fleet operations.
With modern technology, many administrative tasks in transport and passenger transport can be optimised. It also provides additional vehicle security as an anti-theft device. The GPS system helps to track the vehicles at any time without interruption and makes it possible to determine the exact position of the vehicle at any time.
How Do GPS Systems Work?
GPS systems are based on the Global Positioning System, which is used for navigation purposes with the help of satellites. A transmitter mounted inside the vehicle communicates the exact position of the car at regular intervals. Accuracies of a few meters can be maintained. On curves or when changing direction, the tracking box will send more frequent signals so that the route is transmitted correctly.
The receiver module records these signals and displays them on a map or as geographical information. In a fleet of vehicles, several GPS systems can be managed via a common interface. This enables dispatchers to monitor the location and movements of the cars and vans at all times and to take corrective action if necessary. In addition to optimising delivery routes and passenger transport, GPS tracking in the car also serves to protect against theft. Should a vehicle be stolen, it can be quickly located via the tracking system.
Installation of Car Tracking Devices
Tracking systems consist of two components: a GPS tracker installed on or inside the vehicle and a software. The GPS tracker is a compact component that can be integrated inconspicuously at various locations. There are three possibilities for installation:
- To the cigarette lighter
- To the car battery
- To the power supply of the vehicle, such as an OBD interface
Depending on the hardware, installation of a GPS tracking system can be done in three easy steps or require a paid visit to a garage. The placement of the GPS tracker and the ease and cost of installation and uninstallation are important factors to consider when choosing a product and a provider.
Data Security and Collection
GPS devices for the car collect a variety of data that goes far beyond the mere location of the vehicle. The data is transmitted via the GSM mobile phone network, recorded in the corresponding software and then can be processed. Depending on the system used, GPS vehicle tracking devices can collect data on parameters such as speed, idle times, as well as information concerning engine performance.
By determining the location alone, truck tracking devices allow numerous usage scenarios:
- Working hours are recorded
- Vehicle usage can be monitored
- Proof can be provided that a company vehicle is not being used inappropriately
Benefits of GPS Tracking System
GPS systems are a highly popular solution for company fleet vehicles. They have many benefits to knowing the exact location of your fleet while out in the field or on the road. Private individuals can also benefit from a GPS tracker if their vehicle is used by several people or is parked in densely populated areas. Ultimately, this kind of system can save miles and therefore money.
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Optimisation of Fleet Vehicles with GPS Tracking
Knowing where your fleet is located has significant advantages regardless of your sector or industry:
- Optimised route and time planning
- Distribution of tasks according to vehicle location
- Automated time recording and electronic logbook
Ultimately, vehicle tracking devices can save time and money. They increase safety and simplify resource planning and the billing of drivers and employees.
- Full traceability
- Improved driver and vehicle safety
- Lower costs
- Route optimisation
- Vehicle security and theft prevention
A proper tracking system offers optimal and constant tracking of the entire company fleet while keeping your data safe. The software behind such a system displays the locations and movement data of all vehicles equipped with GPS transmitters. In this way, for example, the vehicle fleet can be optimised and car sharing services can offer their customers better service. Location systems also open up a wide range of options in terms of safety, such as stolen vehicles being tracked down and returned.
- Vehicles parked in underground car parks are sometimes not able to be recorded
- GPS signal can be disabled by signal jammers
- Possibly no position determination with disconnected car battery
The signal from a GPS transmitter can be switched off with special jamming devices. If the GPS system fails, tracking is no longer possible. A technical failure fortunately is a scenario with a low probability. It is more common for a vehicle to be parked in such a way that it cannot be tracked, for example in underground car parks. Depending on the model, some devices do not provide data when the car battery is disconnected. It is important to speak with your vehicle tracking provider regarding these shortcomings.
Who Should Use a GPS Tracking System?
The installation of a tracking system in a vehicle is worthwhile for the following companies, among others:
- Haulage companies and freight forwarders
- Passenger transport and taxis
- Rescue Services
- Car rental and car sharing companies
- Company car fleets
- Luxury cars
- Custody transports, courier services
Hauliers and Freight Forwarders
Carriers and hauler companies should monitor their driver routes and intervene if necessary to arrange for additional loading or a change of route. If urgent consignments have to be transported, traffic jams or obstructions can be smartly avoided all with the data from a GPS tracker. In the event of a maintenance issue or vehicle accident, replacement vehicles can be quickly found nearby to either provide assistance or pick up the goods from and transport them further.
For passenger transport, taxi drivers, and even rescue services, GPS tracking systems can be used to optimise operations. In the head office, employees can see at which points vehicles are currently located. If there is a current need, they direct the free capacities with the shortest route directly to the place of action. This reduces waiting times for customers or accident victims.
Car Rental and Car Sharing
GPS tracking systems have helped expand the options in which car rental and car sharing companies operate. A vehicle tracking system can be used to determine the location of vehicles at any time with pinpoint accuracy making it more practical to handover cars to customers when there is no fixed car rental location. This also helps the rental companies have an overview of where their vehicles are currently located and whether the agreements on the radius of action (distances, permitted countries) are being adhered to.
Company and Fleet Vehicles
Company cars and pool vehicles can be greatly optimised by a tracking system, just like the vehicles of the forwarding agencies. Instead of assigning a specific car to a person, the cars can be distributed according to tasks and destinations. For high-priced private vehicles, the GPS tracking system is an important tool for theft protection. Geofencing solutions trigger a silent alarm on a mobile phone or via email if the vehicle in question moves without authorisation or leaves a certain predefined radius or area.
Rules Around GPS Tracking Systems in Britain
A common issue for employers and fleet managers is figuring out the UK rules around installing a GPS tracking system. While there is no specific legislation that covers vehicle tracking, employers must comply with UK privacy laws. Here are the two elements to focus on to ensure your tracking system is within the law:
- You must inform your employees if you are using a GPS tracking system and when you plan to track them
- You cannot monitor your employees outside their working hours
Common Practices when Using a GPS Tracking System
There are some measures that businesses can take when implementing GPS tracking to minimise discomfort and stress. They include the following:
- Employees must understand and accept that vehicle tracking during working hours is an accepted business practice. However, the monitoring should be restricted or on-duty time and should never move into employees’ personal lives.
- Employees must carefully read the company’s tracking policies to determine when the tracking starts and ends, plus ask any questions. Cooperative communication with employers on tracking matters will help build trust and provide acceptable outcomes.
- Employers thinking of implementing a GPS tracking system should first establish the business reasons to do so—for instance, in improving safety, operational efficiency, etc. The reason should be demonstrable to employees for easier acceptance.
- Employers should have a comprehensive GPS car tracking policy that is readily available for existing employees and new hires. The policy should define the tracking scope, business purpose, and whether it’s continuous, one-off, etc.
- Use incentives like company recognition or financial rewards to motivate responsible drivers that meet your best-driving criteria based on GPS tracking data.
Download a Memo to help communicate installing GPS Car Tracking
Fleet Geo is a reliable GPS car tracking system that is now available for the UK market. Contact us today to learn more about how our fleet management solution can help your business.
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