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Three Types Of Vehicle Tracking System

Jul 24, 2008
The number of companies who are now deciding to employ vehicle tracking systems is growing rapidly. Those who own vehicle fleets are seeing this implementation as a way to improve efficiency and to reduce the downtime of workers. Most tracking systems use a component in the vehicle combined with a central system back at the headquarters. This means fleet managers have all the information they need about any vehicle in the fleet, this information is normally based upon, the vehicle's speed, location and maintenance situation.

Business managers are especially realising the benefits of these systems for the efficiency they can bring to a company. In the past drivers needed a great deal of paper information with them at all times to not only know where they were going, but also to record their day's business. With a vehicle tracking system this is no longer the case; a GPS device can give drivers precise directions and simultaneously record how long an operative was at a location whilst giving them information on the miles covered over any time period. By using this information it is possible to cut the fuel costs of a fleet, reduce costly instances of forgetting maintenance dates as well as monitoring worker overtime.

Of the systems on the market there are three technologies that stand out as the most widely used. Naturally all of these systems have pros and cons and depending upon their usage will be better suited to some jobs than others. The three major types of system are cellular, wireless passive and satellite real time. Here is a breakdown of each.

The cost of setting up a cellular vehicle tracking system can be cheaper than the other two varieties. This type of system uses cellular transmissions to give the whereabouts of fleet vehicles. The information however is not in real time and can be delayed by up to twenty minutes depending upon the price of the system. The system is not a one off payment; cellular vehicle tracking resembles a service rather than a product. The monthly cost means that you have access to the tracking company's software, usually accessible over the internet to track vehicles.

If you want to avoid the monthly charges of the cellular systems it is worth opting for the wireless passive form of tracking. This is an expensive initial payment but no more payments will be required thereafter. The system comprises hardware that must be installed in all vehicles and a wireless reader at the entrance to the fleet yard. The installation of these components can be expensive but is ultimately worthwhile; the boxes in all of the vehicles record the same information as the other systems but this data is not relayed until the vehicles return to the depot at the end of each working day. This is perfect for those who do not need up to date information but for those who require a real time solution, read on.

Satellite vehicle tracking systems work much like the GPS devices many people have in their cars today. They can provide the fleet manager with all of the information in real time so at any point during the day they know exactly where their drivers are and what they are doing. It is this system that has the best effects on efficiency as managers have the option of settling issues instantly.

These three systems are only the tip of the iceberg in vehicle tracking industry. There is so much technological development at the moment that any information is rapidly outdated as more advanced systems hit the market. Today the question fleet managers must ask themselves is, can my company do without a vehicle tracking system?
About the Author
Technology expert Thomas Pretty looks into the different types of vehicle tracking systems on the market and how they can improve the efficiency of businesses.
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