Vehicle tracking systems can mean all the difference in recovering a stolen vehicle, combining the installation of an electronic device in a vehicle with specially designed computer software monitored on an operational base. This allows to owner or a third party to track the location of the vehicle. In South Africa, 10 cars are stolen every hour. Many vehicle tracking companies have a recovery score of 90% and use state-of-the-art technologies to keep your vehicle on the radar.
These days, vehicle tracking systems often use Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to find the location of the vehicle. This information can be viewed on specialized software or on electronic maps on the internet.
Why use a vehicle tracking system?
Knowing where your vehicle is located at any given time is not only a useful safeguard in case of car theft. Public transit authorities in large urban areas may also make use of vehicle tracking systems to manage their fleet, time schedules, and be able to answer customer questions about vehicle whereabouts. Logistics companies can also make use of vehicle tracking systems to ensure that their deliveries are being conducted on time and via the correct routes.
In the hospitality industry, companies have caught onto vehicle tracking systems for unconventional uses. For example, a 5-star hotel in Singapore installed vehicle tracking systems to ensure that their VIPs can be welcomed when they arrive at the hotel in their limousines. Car rental companies and food delivery services can also make use of vehicle tracking services to manage their business.
Essentially, a vehicle tracking system is a system of surveillance and is a useful way of managing your vehicle or fleet of vehicles.
Check out the video below on realtime GPS vehicle tracking to get a clearer understanding on how these things work:
GPS Vehicle Tracking Video
What types of vehicle tracking are available?
There are several types of vehicle tracking systems in existence, classified wither as “active” or “passive”. The passive vehicle tracking devices store speed, GPS location and heading, as well as other triggers such as doors opening and closing and keys locking and unlocking the vehicle. This data can be retrieved once the vehicle has returned to a certain point. The data is downloaded to a computer and is evaluated. Passive tracking systems can also include devices that automatically download and transfer data to a computer through a wireless connection.
The active vehicle tracking systems collect the same information (speed, GPS location and heading etc.) but these devices transmit the data in real-time to a data centre or computer for evaluation. This is done via satellite or cellular networks.
Vehicle tracking systems these days combine both passive an active tracking systems. If a cellular network is available the data will be transmitted to a server (active); but if a cellular network is unavailable, the data will be stored in the internal memory of the data (passive). This stored data will be transmitted later when a network becomes available once again.
In the past a vehicle tracking system was installed into a vehicle as a small box that ran on a battery or was powered by the vehicle. When it comes to detailed tracking purposes, this method is still largely in use. These days, however, many companies are choosing to harness cellphone technologies to provide tracking of the multiple entities (the vehicles as well as the salesperson). These cell phone network systems can also track calls and texts made, providing an even wider safety net that is transmitted through real-time data.
A GPS tracking system commonly consists of a GPS tracking device that fits into the vehicle and captures data at regular intervals, a GPS tracking server, and a user interface. The GPS tracking device picks up a wide variety of data, including not only location, but fuel amount, altitude, engine temperature, reverse geocoding, tire pressure, ignition turning on and off, battery status, emergency button status and a host of other information. The tracking server is responsible for receiving data from the unit, storing this data securely and serving it to the user on demand. The user interface determines how a user will be able to view vehicle data and access information.
Some well-known South African vehicle tracking companies are Altech Netstar and Ctrack.