Vehicle Tracking before GPS
“Where did you reach?”, “How far are you?”, “What is the nearest landmark?”, “How far is the nearest fuel station?”. These are some of the most recurring questions that are synonymous with Fleet Managers across the world. All these questions are related to the whereabouts of the vehicles in the fleet. This pretty much gives us an idea about the importance of knowing the fleets’ location for Fleet Managers. Before the tech revolution, Fleet Managers and companies would physically call each driver in their fleet to know their location. This was the only form of vehicle tracking system that was available at the time. Now, this might not seem that bad if you own only a couple of vehicles but when you extend the size to hundreds of vehicles, its a nightmare!
How GPS changed Vehicle Tracking Forever
Initial Vehicle Tracking was expensive and restricted
The GPS or Global Positioning System was primarily developed for Military and Intelligence use. Later it became available for commercial use but the high cost of acquiring and using the GPS satellite data and inconvenient tracking units made it inaccessible for most businesses and fleet managers.
Policy and Technology changes improved Commercial Vehicle Tracking drastically
As more fixed point satellites launched in the orbit, GPS technology became more accurate and accessible. A series of policy and technology changes were brought in the early 90s to make the technology accessible and useful.
This was followed by the rise of personal computers which further propelled the use of GPS-based vehicle tracking, especially in the fleet management industry. GPS-based vehicle tracking became more affordable and businesses benefitted by implementing it for their operations. Personal computing allowed fleet managers to now manage and track their large fleets and their operations with Vehicle Tracking.
The Internet Boom and the emergence of modern vehicle tracking systems
The internet boom of the 90s and early 2000s completely revolutionized the vehicle tracking industry. It enabled the commercial scope of the technology and scaled it exponentially. From public transport to personal navigation to logistics and supply chain, it was being implemented everywhere.
- Public Transport Network and Tracking using GPS
GPS and vehicle tracking technologies were implemented in public transport networks systems like buses, trains to make the services more accessible and accurate.
- Improved Planes and Ship Navigation
Planes and ships navigation technology improved allowing for more accurate navigation and tracking which drastically improved efficiency and reduced accidents and delays significantly.
- Personal Vehicle Navigation Systems using GPS
Cars started getting navigation and tracking system installed which helped them navigate accurately during the daily commute and even long-distance trips. It was a big step-up from paper maps and charts which were primarily being used by people and could get complicated.
- Fleet Management and Logistics Industry using vehicle tracking system
The logistics industry as a whole benefitted the most from the improved Vehicle Tracking System. Managing and tracking large fleet operations became exponentially easier. Location data became available for analyzing more efficient trip routes. 2PL and 3PL systems became possible, planning and navigating routes became affordable for all size businesses and the logistics system became much faster as a result.
Location-based services became possible due to improved Vehicle Tracking Systems
Further development in Geo-spatial technology, Geographical Information Systems (GIS) gave rise to location data-centered companies like Uber, Lyft, Ola that heavily utilizes vehicle tracking systems to offer services as an on-demand taxi. Google Maps, without which most of us cannot imagine our daily life and commute has become possible due to the improvement of GIS and GPS Vehicle Tracker
Next generations fleet management software and services have vehicle tracking as their central business while offering ample other fleet management services to businesses. Technology-based companies like Fleetx, few fleet management companies that offer vehicle tracking services in addition to other services related to fleet management.
Vehicle Tracking System in Fleet Management
The ability to track the location of the vehicle in real-time and navigate routes came as a boon to the entire Fleet Management industry. Once the implementation of Vehicle Tracking Systems became mainstream for most fleet operators and businesses, fleet management software and the service industry grew exponentially.
Vehicle Tracking Systems in different industries
Vehicle Tracking System help fleet managers track each vehicle in their fleet. The technology is used across various industries which run or require logistics and supply-chain management. For example,
- Vehicle Tracking in the on-demand taxi service business relies on the real-time location of the taxis as well as passengers.
- The cargo transportation business which requires large trucks loaded with goods traveling hundreds of miles requires a vehicle tracking system primarily for route planning and navigation.
- Intracity services like lightweight trucking, food delivery, etc require vehicle tracking systems that use real-time congestion on roads and provide traffic-related data for the fastest route using location data and AI.
- E-commerce businesses, cargo businesses require vehicle tracking solution require integrated tracking systems which are more customer-centric like 2PL or 3PL based systems.
Fleet Management using data and AI
Software solutions that use location and operations data from vehicles of a particular fleet and presents data related to routes, fuel, efficiency, mileage, trip duration, etc to improve operations and cut operating cost significantly gained popularity among fleet managers.
Services like Driver Management Systems, Fuel Management Systems, Scheduling and Routing Systems are gaining momentum among fleet management companies and large businesses. However, Vehicle Tracking Systems are still the most popular and widely accepted software solution that is used by companies and fleet managers worldwide due to their importance, usability, and affordability.
Future of Vehicle Tracking Systems
Technological advances are key to improving location-based services along with policy and regulatory changes. Vehicle Tracking Systems are constantly being improved to meet the needs of industries across the board. Issues in supply-chain have taken center stage with various factors like trade treaties, geopolitical tension, climate change, and other global issues changing how business’ logistics operate.
Climate Change is by far the biggest factor that is forcing businesses and fleet management companies to change the way they operate by shifting from fuel-run fleets to EV-run fleets. Such a massive transition will require a huge amount of commute data from fleet operating companies to mold the system to develop a more accurate and efficient system which will allow for such a transition without negatively affecting the business. Vehicle Tracking Systems and the data collected by them will be of the utmost importance in executing such a transition properly.