How to Track a Vehicle

January 8, 2020 Published by

There are many reasons to want to track a vehicle, both for business and personal reasons. If you have a fleet of vehicles, you want to know where each one is at any given time to improve efficiency, reduce costs, protect your drivers and your assets, and gain peace of mind.

We’re going to break down the technology of GPS tracking for both business and personal applications and go over some of the benefits of each.

How Does GPS Tracking Work?

The Global Positioning System (GPS) works off a series of satellites orbiting at approximately 12,550 miles above the earth, circling the earth twice a day. Each satellite contains an atomic clock that precisely synchronizes with the others and with ground clocks by constantly sending radio signals that communicate the current time and date of their location. Ground-based receivers are always receiving, or “listening” to, these broadcasts, whether they’re in your phone or another monitoring device.

The GPS is operated by the United States Air Force (USAF) and is a mix of old and new satellites. The exact number changes due to satellites being retired or lost at launch, but in 2019, there were 33 global location satellites in orbit. A minimum of 24 is required to be up at any given time to keep consistent coverage going across the globe, with three needed to accurately triangulate the relative location of system users. The system was designed so that there are at least four satellites (the three necessary ones and one backup) visible to anyone at any time, regardless of where they are on the planet. This ensures that their device can be located at any given time.

The laws of physics haven’t changed: the speed of light is constant at approximately 186,000 miles per second (300,000 km/s), so you can tell how far away an object is by how long it takes a light wave to travel to and from a location. Therefore, if it takes two seconds for a lightwave signal to reflect, you can calculate that the object is 186,000 miles away. You know that the light pulse took one second to get there and one second to transmit back.

One more thing to consider: for light to travel at a constant speed in all reference frames, time dilation must occur. Comparable to what happens with a black hole, although to a much lesser degree, is the fact that because positioning satellites are traveling so fast, they must account for time-drift. The atomic clock in the constellation of satellites must account for the fact that its internal clock is 38 microseconds slower than the clock on your phone.

This must be configured in the process or else the accuracy would be measured in miles instead of feet. Einstein codified the theory of General Relativity that takes gravitational time-dilation into account to adjust for this.

A global position tracker is simply receiving, or “listening” for, satellite transmissions as they continuously broadcast their speed and location. Then simple math is applied, and your receiver, with its accurate clock, has a unique location that can be mapped to the location you occupy so your unique location and speed can be tracked. This is an application of the Doppler effect, and it is how all global trackers work: tiny radios listening on a very specific frequency that relies on extremely accurate clocks.

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What Are the Benefits of Tracking Vehicles for Business?

Most commercial trucks were required to be compliant with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) mandate as of December 18, 2017, which means that for most commercial drivers, some form of electronic monitoring is now required by law. It was enacted to save on operating costs and improve driver safety, among other things.

Let’s dig into the benefits a little deeper.

Cost Reduction

To put it simply, everything that gets monitored by a monitoring system contributes to cost reduction in some way, as evidenced by each of the following points. Just one area is in reduced fuel costs, which can cut excessive driving speed, idle vehicles, and poorly configured routes.

Improved Customer Service

Increase customer retention and pleasantly surprise your customers by being able to give them an exact time of delivery, as well as being able to meet an unexpected customer delivery or repair by diverting a nearby driver.

Enforced Safe Driving

Global position oversight takes a proactive approach to improve and enforce the safety of the driver and their assets. You can respond immediately to any kind of emergency when you know exactly where it is. Additionally, some apps that can be paired with global position systems, such as Vehicle Fleet Manager, can monitor driver actions so that any vehicles that are out of compliance can be quickly corrected.

Behaviors such as speeding, phone usage, hard braking, or excessive acceleration can be closely monitored, and the fleet manager can react appropriately to curtail the concerning behaviors.

Some apps automatically monitor driver actions and score them, and others offer driving tips to help drivers improve.

And if an accident does occur, global tracker systems can provide evidence for any kind of liability.

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Reduced Insurance Rates

Utilizing global position oversight devices for commercial trucks can provide a decrease in driver’s Compliance Safety and Accountability (CSA) score, which can greatly reduce your premiums, as poor driving skills are one reason for high insurance costs.

Theft and Vandalism Protection

With accurate global system oversight and virtual geofenced parameters, you will know immediately when a vehicle has moved outside of its predefined area. You can then let the authorities know without losing any time, which means you have a greater chance of vehicle recovery and less chance of vandalism. Additionally, if would-be thieves can see that there is a monitoring system in the vehicle, it may be enough to deter them from the attempt.

Improved Decision-Making

By analyzing the data provided by the global tracking system, your fleet manager can reconfigure more efficient routes, analyze driver habits, be proactive about vehicle maintenance, know whether you need to buy or rent additional vehicles, identify unproductive shippers and receivers, and reduce overtime. You will also be able to identify key productivity trends, recognize and reward outstanding performers, and become more competitive in your industry.

Reduced Paperwork

Since the data will be automatically generated according to your global position system configuration, your administrative staff will spend significantly less time with mundane supervision and compiling reports. This also reduces the chance of human error.

How to Track a Vehicle

Fleet Tracking

With a fleet-tracking system, you can completely optimize every route in a way that will add up to huge savings. GPS Technologies provides the most accurate and best overall fleet supervision services that are currently available.

Asset Tracking

The asset-tracking devices offered by GPS Technologies offer many customizable features to suit your particular needs. You may simply want to record stop and start times, the length of stops, and the stop locations. Or you may want to monitor vehicle speed, rapid acceleration and stopping, get arrival and departure alerts, or make use of geofencing. Whatever your needs, GPS Technologies can help you manage your assets, large or small.

Portable GPS Tracking

With portable battery tracker. from GPS Technologies, you have the power to track your company’s assets — loads, trailers, individual deliveries, store merchandise — with battery-operated devices, some as small and invisible as a car key. Monitoring features range from basic information such as stop and start times, location addresses, and length of stops to more sophisticated mapping and reporting capabilities. Reporting varies depending on which product you choose as well as the service plan you decide on. Prices will also vary based on the level of detail you require. Feel free to consult our experts to help you choose the correct product for your needs!

GPS Teen Tracking

GPS Technologies offers solutions for teen tracker that are very affordable and offer a variety of options for the concerned parent to choose from. Think of it as being in the passenger seat when your teen is behind the wheel. You can get information on start and stop times, address locations, speed, and mileage, as well as set geofencing boundaries. The unit can be discreetly installed, and alerts can be sent to your phone to warn you of aggressive driving. Since driving is dangerous, you are likely eligible to save money on insurance premiums by using this technology, as it promotes driver accountability.

Final Thoughts on Vehicle Tracking

The benefits of vehicle monitoring have been well established, and this multi-use radio-navigation system helps people and businesses the world over daily. global position supervision systems provide data and business intelligence that can be utilized for optimization purposes, asset monitoring, or supervising the driving habits of your teen driver. Regardless of the use, GPS is an essential network that provides safety, security, and business solutions to people across the globe.

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