Wednesday, October 3, 2012

How Vehicle Tracking Technology Has Changed

Fleet tracking technology has been around for decades, but only recently has it become practical and affordable for even the smallest fleet operators. From the earliest systems of two-way radios to sophisticated GPS and computer tracking of today, vehicle tracking technology has evolved and improved tremendously.
Early systems
The earliest vehicle tracking systems started with the advent of two way radios. With a radio in each vehicle and a base station, fleet operators could talk to their drivers and map their progress through each day's route. Changes and emergent calls could be sent out to the field more easily, making operations more efficient.
The downside, of course, is that radio communications had limitations in distance, accuracy, and the ability to connect with drivers going in and out of their vehicle. The information received at the base station was only as good as what the drivers provided, and for fleets of any significant size, tracking and mapping progress manually was a challenge.
The dawn of GPS
When GPS tracking became widely available, it transformed the vehicle tracking landscape. Fleet operators could now locate each vehicle electronically and track it via computer, making it easier to keep track of large numbers of vehicles and verify the information provided by drivers. Of course the early systems were tremendously expensive, making them far out of reach economically for all but the largest fleets.
As GPS units became smaller and cheaper, and computer tracking capabilities became more advanced and less expensive, the modern fleet tracking systems took shape. Each vehicle carried a tracking unit that was monitored and information communicated back to the central base station, while the base station expanded in size and complexity to handle the large amounts of information coming in.
Companies that use this type of fleet tracking have to invest significant amounts of capital in the vehicle units as well as the infrastructure for a central base station to monitor and dispatch the fleet. There are expensive monthly subscription fees as well.
A new innovation
A recent innovation in the vehicle tracking industry is transforming the efficiency and affordability of fleet tracking systems. This new system uses a small tracking unit in the vehicle and a web-based interface that is accessed via a regular mobile telephone. There is no investment required in expensive central infrastructure and fleet managers can monitor the system from anywhere for no monthly subscription fee. This allows supervisors and managers to spend more time in the field and less time in the office.
The affordability of this new technology makes it practical for even the smallest fleets. This in turn brings the benefits of vehicle tracking - less driver downtime, more efficient routing, etc. - to operators of all sizes and compositions.
The future of vehicle tracking
Of course nobody can predict the future with 100% accuracy, but most industry experts agree that the new wave of technology is leading vehicle tracking into a new era of convenience and affordability. For the first time ever, small and medium fleets can afford to adopt vehicle tracking and enjoy the many benefits that come along with greater efficiency.

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