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Telematics is an integrated use of informatics and communication technology (ICT). Telematics comes from a Greek word tele meaning “far away” and Matos that means “of its own unity.” Thus telematics literally means a process of long-distance transmission of computer based information. Vehicle telematics therefore implies a combination power of the computers and computer systems with such technologies (like wireless, GPS, and cellular) used to obtain certain information about remote vehicles. Vehicle telematics is today used in tracking vehicles like those ones on rent, taxis or a fleet of vehicles owned by an individual or a company but operating in different geographical distances. The aim of this paper is to discuss all that entails with vehicle telematics.
Definition of Vehicle Telematics
As shown from above, vehicle telematics is a term that defines connected vehicles that exchange electronic data. According to the Romdev System website, the systems can be used for different purposes like collecting road tolls, pricing auto insurance, tracking a fleet of vehicles, to manage road usage by the vehicles (called intelligent transportation systems), recover stolen vehicles, provide automated collision notifications, locate driven driver information services, dedicated short range communications, vehicle accident prevention, and cold store logistics. The business of vehicle telematics has gotten the best of both worlds as more and more businesses are willing to spend more cash on an advanced product that gives much efficiency. A typical vehicle tracking system is comprised of a GPS location tracking device that is installed in the vehicle and a user software (UK telematics online).
Vehicle telematics has been changing very rapidly in the recent past due to change in technological advancements. Some of the changes include advance in cell phones, the internet, and GPS receivers.
Common Automotive Telematics Usage
There are several currently active usage of vehicle telematics as well as future predicated services. Some of the common uses include the following:
- Fleet management
- GPS tracking
- Emergency response vehicles
- Government/ Military fleets
- Rental cars and other vehicles
- Mass transit fleets including trains and buses
- Limousines services
Some of the well known companies that have adopted the use of automotive telematics include Orkin, General motors, UPS, international truck and engine corps (Autotelematics). Some of these practical applications of vehicle telematics include the following:
This is a way of monitoring the movement, location, behavior and status of a vehicle or a fleet of vehicles. Vehicle tracking is achieved by use of a combination of GPS (or GNSS) receiver and an electronic device with a GSM GPRS modem that is installed in the vehicle to be tracked. Then there is communication with the user (also called the emergency, dispatching or coordinating unit) and a web-based software. The management reporting tools then turns the data into information in conjunction with a visual display on computerized mapping software. Sometimes a vehicle mapping uses dead reckoning or odometry as a complimentary means of navigation (Vehicle Telematics, 2007).
This is a system of tracking the movements and position on an expressed vehicle’s trailer unit. This is done through the use of a location unit that is fit to the trailer and another method of returning the position data through communication with a mobile network or a communication known as geostationary satellite communications. Then it is tracked by use of a web-based software or a PC (Vehicle Telematics, 2007).
Cold Store Freight Logistics
Cold store trailers are the trailers used in the delivery of frozen or fresh food stuff. These kinds of trailers are more and more using telematics to gather a time series data on the temperature inside the trailers (or that of the cargo). They can trigger alarms and record an audit trail of the temperatures for purposes of businesses. An array of sensors are incorporated with RFID technology are used to ensure that the temperature inside the trailer cargo remains constant and thus ensure food safety and that it never goes bad (Vehicle Telematics, 2007).
A management of a company’s fleet through telematics is called fleet management. Fleet management includes the management of motor vehicles (including cars, vans, trucks, taxis, etc), ships. Fleet management comprises of many fleet management functions like vehicle financing, vehicle maintenance, driver management, health and safety management, fuel management and vehicle telematics among other functions. Fleet management is especially used by companies that rely on transportation in their businesses to reduce or eliminate risks that are associated with vehicle investment, improve productivity as well as efficiency and reduce the overall transportation costs, be compliant with government legislation and the duty and care obligations. Fleet management functions can be dealt with an outsourced fleet management provider or an in-house fleet management (Vehicle Telematics, 2007).
This is the use of wireless data communications by use of radio waves in sending and receiving real time computer information between and from devices used by the field personnel. The mobile data devices can be fitted for real time (used whilst in the vehicle otherwise known as Fixed Data Terminal) or can be used in and out of the vehicle (known as mobile data terminal) (Vehicle Telematics, 2007).
This is the technology of using GPS and an electronic mapping tool that will enable the driver of a motor vehicle locate the position of the car, be able to navigate the journey and the route plan of the journey (Vehicle Telematics, 2007).
Intelligent Vehicle Technologies
Telematics encompasses silicon materials like electromechanical, electromagnetic devices and electronic components in conjunction with radio receivers and computer controlled devices that will provide repeated functions and an emergency warning rationale performance re-enactment. This type of technology is commonly used in application of car safety systems and in self-contained autonomous electromechanical sensors that are used in generating warnings that are transmitted within a certain targeted area. An example here can be 100M of an emergency warning system for vehicle trans-receiver of an emergency system for vehicle receivers. In other applications, intelligent vehicle technologies are used for commercial communications and for safety of vehicles between a sensor along the road and the vehicle (Vehicle Telematics, 2007).
Emergency Warning System for Vehicles
Telematics technology can be used in the development of intelligent vehicles. This is because they are self-orienting open networks that can be programmed into intelligent beacons for the intelligent vehicles. The intelligent vehicles are developed with intent to harmonize warning information especially with the surrounding vehicles in neighborhood of infrastructure, travel and intra-vehicle. The emergency warning system for vehicle telematics is developed for vehicle-to-infrastructure real-time DSRC systems and internal harmonization and standardization of vehicle-to-vehicle. Telematics here is commonly referred for computerized systems that are able to update information at the same rate as they can receive the information. This enables them to control a process like instant autonomous warning notification in a group of machines or just a remote machine. By use of telematics as applied in the intelligent vehicle technique discussed above, immediate course travel cognizance of a vehicle will be transmitted in real time to the surrounding vehicles travelling in the vicinity as long as they are equipped with EWSV that will enable them to receive warning signals incase of danger (Vehicle Telematics, 2007).
Wireless Vehicle Safety Communications
This is a telematics aid in vehicle safety and road safety. It consists of an electronic sub-system in the vehicle for the sole purpose exchanging safety information with the vehicles. This information can be about road hazards and locations, speed of vehicles over a SR radio links. This can involve ad hoc wireless local area networks. This safety communications involves installing wireless units in vehicles and also in some fixed locations say near traffic signals or at emergency call boxes along the vehicles’ routes. The sensors in the vehicle, at the strategic positions along the road and to a network will then provide information that will the relayed to the drivers. Range of radio links will be able to be extended by forwarding the messages through multi-hop routes. If no fixed units are available, information about fixed hazards can still be maintained by the moving vehicles when they pass it backwards.
It is postulated that in the future, it can be used to directly connect to the adaptive cruise control. Vehicles with the wireless system that is connected to their braking system may move in convoys and thus saving space and fuel on the roads. This means that if a column member slows down, then those behind will automatically slow down leading to less causalities on our roads. If a radio beacon is, say connected to a brake light, then there are possibilities that less engineering effort will be needed (Vehicle Telematics).
According to the UK telematics online, fuel saving telematics occurs when the vehicle is able to show the driver when they are revving, driving too fast, when not using cruise control or when not being efficient in their use of gears. This leads to reduced vehicle emissions and thus saves fuel. Recently, offers have started to offer ECU remapping aimed at optimizing the performance of the vehicle.
Telematics has permitted the use of computers organizers to allow tracking the use of a members’ car usage and billing them on a “pas-as-you-drive” basis. In the UK for example, there is an emergence of car clubs like city car club and in Australia we have Charter Drive that use telematics to monitor and report on vehicle use within a defined vicinity.
In an issue of Insurance IP bulletin, it was reported that telematic is now used in auto insurance to monitor a driver’s behavior while driving and the information is then transmitted to the insurance company. The insurance company will then assess the risk of such a driver getting involved in an accident and will use the assessment as a basis for charging insurance premiums. For example a driver driving long distances will be charged higher premiums as opposed to one who drives short distances at lower speeds. Auto insurance was invented by Progressive Auto Insurance and research shows that young people signing to use this kind of auto insurance have a 20% lower chance of being involved in an accident (Insurance IP bulletin).
Vehicle telematics is the use of technology with integration with a computer based software in automotive negation. With the use of telematics, there are accrued advantages like safe driving, low fuel consumption, fleet optimization by size, prevention of injuries and reduced maintenance costs. With a combined GPS system that is based on an onboard monitoring technology and engine diagnostic and an easy to use mapping, the software enables real time reporting that can be used to track a vehicle’s operating and usage parameter. According to Roadnet Technologies, telematics has proved to be a solution that has helped fleet operators save millions of operating costs while providing fleets with a large and clearer understanding of how to operate vehicles to reduce their maintenance costs while improving their productivity