Copyright © 2010 Alison Withers
Tracking vehicles using the latest satellite technology is as useful for protecting vehicles from theft as the CCTV we now take for granted on our high streets is for combating crime.
Global Positioning System (GPS) technology is the secret and it works by using satellites in space to track a sugnal from a GPS tracking device installed in the vehicle.
It can be linked to a mobile phone or to a computer and allows anyone who wishes to check the vehicle’s location and its speed from signals sent back from the unit at regular intervals that can be set to as little as a minute apart.
While signals can be interrupted if the vehicle enters an underpass any loss of signal for an exceptional length of time would immediately sound an alert that something was wrong.
Companies using GPS on their vehicles can benefit in many ways that keep costs down, ensure employees are doing their jobs properly and use their vehicles efficiently. It makes calculating the time each job should take more precise and that then helps a company to become more efficient.
A taxi firm is one example of the sorts of companies that would find GPS useful to monitor the time drivers take to reach a booking and deliver the customer to their destination. Delivery companies, too, would benefit for similar reasons, especially when drivers are sent out with an itinerary to complete and controllers have some idea how long each should take.
Theft of vehicles can be a problem, especially theft of containers and lorries and tracking a vehicle would alert controllers if it did not reach its destination. It would also record the loaction of the lorry once it has left its route, which makes it easier for the police to search for stolen goods. In the case of robbery GPS makes it possible to pinpoint the location of the robbery of an armoured truck.
Lorries are not the only vehicles that can be vulnerable to theft. Stealing luxury cares, often for shipping abroad, is a lucrative market. The GPS can be set to move within a defined area so that if it then moves outside that area it will be obvious something is wrong. Owners of expensive cars can install a tracker, and “activate” it in case of theft so that the owner can find out where it is.
The activation mechanism can also be useful for controlling fleet movement and ensuring drivers stick to their routes.
There are other, less obvious, benefits from using vehicle tracking. It can also help to improve driver behaviour and enbcourage them to drive in a way that controls their speed at the rate that is most economical on fuel.
Personal security may also benefit if a driver has to go somewhere alone outside daylight hours and their vehicle is tracked to its destination. It would be useful to people like care workers, nurses and doctors who are often called to remote places at night when someone is taken ill.
While many of us might be irritated by the way every moment of our lives now seems to be watched, perhaps controlled and there seems to be little privacy, there may be times when we are glad of the new technology and safety provided by GPS.
Vehicle tracking using GPS satellite tracking technology is a useful tool against theft but it can also help improve driver behaviour and efficient fuel use to enable companies to control their costs, says Ali Withers.