What Is GPS Tracking?

How GPS Works In Cars

GPS Tracking

How GPS Tracking Works In Vehicles

Almost every modern vehicle has built-in GPS navigation through its center console but not every car has GPS tracking. For companies that have fleets or revolve around logistics, this powerful technology can give you an edge, but how do GPS vehicle trackers work?

GPS is a powerful technology that changed how we do business, travel, and treat logistics. Here’s how it works in cars, including some technical details and use cases that you may want to add to your business.

What Is GPS?

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a tracking system that allows us to pinpoint where we are on Earth, where we’re going, and how far we are from our destination. How it works is as simple as our traditional maps but provides real-time information.

The GPS satellites communicate their position with other satellites orbiting, in a process called trilateration. They measure their relative distance to GPS vehicle trackers, which is shared between all three satellites. The measure was originally part of an initiative by the Department of Defense for military applications.

Once the location of the point, in this case, the vehicle, is determined, all three satellites deliver the data to the receiver on the vehicle. The GPS processes the information and extrapolates the satellites’ position relative to the system’s map.

Though GPS satellite navigation is up in space, they are not above the geostationary orbit. They are constantly moving to provide information to everyone around the world. There are different orbits, but typically there are 24 active satellites at any given time.

When new GPS satellites are launched, they travel at the same orbital velocity as the other satellites. Several satellites will have already moved out of their orbital velocity as each new satellite is launched.

How Does GPS Work In Cars?

Now that we know what GPS tracking is and how it works, let’s put it into one of its most valuable use cases: automobiles. As vehicles get more intelligent, they start adding GPS trackers to them by default.

Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) networks provide the main functionality of GPS-based tracking systems. Microwave signals are sent from this network of satellites to various GPS devices, with mobile phones and vehicles as typical examples. Things like the vehicle’s location, speed, and direction are transmitted, providing fleet analytics data crucial to managing them.

Understanding The Tracking System

Vehicle tracking devices are installed in cars (or pieces of equipment or assets) to collect various types of information, such as speed, idle time, diagnostics, etc. It tracks the location of the vehicle or equipment at all times using Global Positioning Satellites (GPS). The device inside the vehicle stores the data collected.

A wireless or cellular network, such as those operated by AT&T and Verizon, is then used to transmit the data. A cellular network transmits the information back to a server. On a computer, tablet, or smartphone, you can access the information no matter where you are because the server acts as a “cloud.”

Real-time vehicle tracking and equipment offer the most basic information the vehicle reports. A map displays the data in almost real-time. 

The providers then offer a variety of ways to access information, including breadcrumb trails of where the vehicle has traveled, how fast it traveled, etc. Gathering the data takes place automatically in the background, which means you only have to worry about setting up alerts and reports to show essential and relevant information.

Advantages Of GPS In Vehicles

GPS car navigation provides many advantages, especially if you’re using it with a fleet. Different businesses provide a variety of advantages that can save you time, money, and efficiency.

1. Improve Sustainability

GPS tracking changed fleet management forever, providing fleet managers with a systematic way to know what happens when their employees leave for work – or when their organization’s vehicles leave. It was impossible to know who to dispatch and whether jobs were getting done.

It is now possible for fleet managers to determine which vehicles to dispatch to a site for maintenance. It is faster to send the nearest vehicle, saves fuel, and reduces emissions when sending the closest vehicle.

Similarly, GPS technology can measure the speed of a vehicle. Speeding is one of the fastest ways to burn money. Each mile you drive above 55 mph can cost you up to 2% in fuel efficiency. When using GPS to track drivers, it is easy to coach them on reducing their speed.

2. Remove Side Jobs From Fleet Vehicles

Fleet managers often discover that employees are using company cars for side jobs. Fleet solutions allow you to see where and when your fleet vehicles are being utilized after hours. Eliminating side jobs on your car can help your vehicle last longer and cost less in the long run.

Additionally, you might find that it helps protect your brand. There would be no point in your organization being associated with unauthorized work.

3. Track Your Assets

All mobile assets can be tracked with fleet tracking solutions, not just vehicles. With trailers and generators, you can monitor their security, giving you added peace of mind.

Similarly, you are able to geofence your workplaces, which means you are able to detect assets leaving or entering the space.

4. Proof Of Job Completion

It is sometimes disputed by customers how long employees spent on their property. Many of them even claim they did not spend any time there at all.

With the use of this technology, you can solve accountability problems with positive proof as to what happened. It may show that there are some problematic employees you have on your team. However, it is likely that your high performers will provide you with information that will help you offer the best support to them.

In this case, the employees will report to you while the organization will be responsible for taking care of your clients. You will notice that customer service for your company is considerably improved.

5. Custom Solutions For Different Challenges

Fleet tracking solutions based on GPS can alert you if the driver isn’t wearing a seatbelt. Besides flagging unsafe driving, it can also alert you of sudden acceleration, hard braking, and hard cornering. You can encourage better driving habits across your fleet by monitoring driver behavior.

Custom solutions can be created in some cases using GPS technology. Companies can use GPS as a type of “panic button” to allow their employees to call for help in an emergency.

Also, it can be used in the event of fatal accidents. They are able to track “correction curves” and other driving challenges on the road by using GPS trackers. A business can provide their customers with solutions such as an in-cab alarm that would alert them when they were approaching such challenging road conditions. 

Related Article: 14 Best GPS Systems For Tracking Vehicles

Final Thoughts

GPS is a technology that’s constantly evolving. It provides many useful services, from tracking shipments to finding the most efficient routes. Tracking devices in vehicles give businesses the information to make more efficient deliveries with less downtime.

GPS technology allows businesses to know exactly where their vehicles are, how long they take, and where they’re going. In today’s fast-moving world, GPS technology is helping companies stay competitive, offering them an edge over businesses without this technology. It may cost more than traditional maps, but it is an investment that will help businesses flourish.