IoT-based Vehicle Tracking Systems for Transportation Industry!

It was in September 1985 when Peter T. Lewis, a cell phone pioneer, first coined the term ‘Internet of Things’ in his speech, delivered at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. Hardly a few could grasp this futuristic concept then. Lewis’s speech lost track of and this concept was forgotten too. But in 1999, this term was officially explained by Kevin Ashton, a British technology pioneer, during a presentation for Procter & Gamble.

Since then, IoT innovations geared up and today, it has become gigantic. Today, IoT applications provide forward-thinking solutions across several industries, where transportation and trucking industry tops the list.

In this article, I am particularly going to emphasize on IoT in transportation and trucking industry and how an IoT-powered Vehicle Tracking System (VTS) is the perfect solution for several inherent issues in fleet management. Before we dive deeper, let us have a quick look at what is a Vehicle Tracking System and how it works.

What is an IoT-powered Vehicle Tracking System and how does it work?

In the transportation and trucking industry, the profit of the business is directly proportional to efficient fleet management. Hence, tracking of the fleet becomes crucial. An IoT-powered VTS comes in the picture here. This system is specially designed to monitor the vehicles carrying the fleet and provides in-depth access to vehicle data like real-time location of vehicle, speeding/idling data of the vehicle, maintenance alerts for different parts of the vehicle, status of order and shipment, etc. These insights help in smart decision-making to develop an efficient, reliable, economical and automated work environment.

Now how does an IoT-powered VTS work?

It uses three technologies:

  • Radio-frequency identification or RFID- for tracking and controlling of products
  • Global Positioning System or GPS- for obtaining real-time information of vehicles
  • On-board diagnostics for getting data about vehicle maintenance and how the driver drives the vehicle, for eg. Speed of the vehicle, idling, routes taken, etc.

The VTS relies on its hardware components for collecting data from the vehicles. Vehicle sensors, GPS and OBD II sensors are used for tracking the vehicle’s location and other fleet data. The VTS uses software to display the collected data in several formats and transfer it to the concerned authorities. As the vehicle moves, the data like location, speed, direction, etc. is collected by receivers/sensors and periodically sent to the secure application server in the cloud over a mobile network. This application server sends alert messages and reports to the mobile phones of drivers or supervisors so that they can make actionable decisions accordingly.

What are the advantages of a Vehicle Tracking System?

An IoT-based VTS has a plethora of benefits to offer to the transportation and trucking industry. These systems enable transparent operations and effective management of fleet assets. Below mentioned are a few significant advantages of a VTS.

  • Real-time and Automated Tracking of Vehicles and Drivers

The VTS monitors the exact location of the vehicle, heavy traffic routes, bad weather conditions, bad roads driving speeds, stops made by drivers, etc. This data is sent to the smartphones of fleet managers so they are constantly informed about the vehicle journey. If the vehicle is stuck somewhere due to traffic or if the driver has taken another route, or if the drivers are getting engaged in their personal errands, or if the drivers are siphoning the fuel, fleet managers remain updated about such situations. They can communicate with the drivers and take necessary actions.

  • Efficient Fleet and Inventory Management

A VTS will track the fleet data and send alert messages to concerned managers. When the load on the vehicle is reduced or increased above the safe limits, the managers get the alert messages and they can take necessary actions. Also, there are in-vehicle cameras that keep a watch on the condition of the goods, especially in the case of perishable goods or medicinal items.  All this helps in systematic management of the order fulfilment workflow from the warehouse to the clients.

  • Improved Vehicle Health 

An IoT-powered VTS has sensors that automatically track the performance of the vehicle components. It alerts the managers when the performance of the component drops below the standard performance. This reduces manual inspections and predicts the vehicle failures in advance. The data like pressure on the tires of vehicle, driving patterns of the driver, fuel consumption, etc. can be gathered using a VTS and sent to the fleet managers. If there is a drop in vehicle performance or any irregularity, the managers can schedule the maintenance of the vehicles. All this crucial data gathered from the vehicle thereby helps in increasing the life-span of a vehicle.

  • Enhanced Safety of Drivers

In case the vehicle is stolen, a VTS can help to locate it. It can also be used to stop the vehicle remotely, simply by clicking a button on the smartphone connected to the system. Also, by scheduling regular maintenance of vehicles and monitoring driver performance, better safety of both, drivers and vehicles can be ensured.

IoT-based solutions have automated several processes reducing the manual efforts of drivers. Also, their driving hours are tracked and it is ensured they do not drive constantly for more than 10 hours. All these efforts reduce driver fatigue and curtail the chances of accidents as well.

  • Elevated Client Satisfaction

An IoT-powered VTS contributes a big time in client satisfaction. By informing the clients about delivery timings, changes in the routes or plans, reasons for late arrivals, etc. in advance, builds trust in them and enhances client satisfaction. VTS helps improve the overall performance of fleet operations, improves fuel efficiency, improves the quality of services, etc. These factors reduce the overall operational cost, thereby improving client satisfaction.

Final Words:

Concrete data always leads to smarter decisions. An IoT-powered Vehicle Tracking System gathers genuine real-time data for optimizing logistics and transportation workflows in an effective manner. It helps to boost the bottom-line of a business. It is way too efficient than traditional methodologies.

 In a nutshell, an IoT-powered Vehicle Tracking System is the backbone of fleet management and the transportation industry.

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Written by Ash Rakars

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