The new-age automotive solutions consider telematics as an integral part of commercial fleet management. Telematics can be described as an amalgamation of telecommunication and informatics and is a key automotive functionality to provide safety, profitability, and productivity to the entire fleet.
Many types of telematics devices are installed in the vehicle and allow the vehicle to send, receive and store the telemetry data.
The plug-and-play OBD port II telematics devices are installed in the vehicle’s CAN-Bus port or OBD –II with a sim and enable wireless communication using an onboard modem.
The telematics data (like vehicle location, time, speed, idle time, route, harsh acceleration or braking, fuel consumption, vehicle faults, and more) are collected from the installed devices and sent to the centralized server. The server interprets the data and enables it to be displayed for the users. This data is essential as it is used for vehicle diagnostics and can be used for preventive maintenance purposes.
Telematics Device Installation
Telematics is a valuable functionality of commercial fleets, and new-age commercial fleet manufacturers install telematics devices integrated with GPS solutions in the vehicles. If the vehicle is not equipped with a telematics solution, the fleet owners use aftermarket telematics solutions that are either battery-powered or powered by the vehicle’s electrical systems.
Other than plug-and-play telematics devices, there are hard-wired fleet telematics and smartphone-based telematics solutions available in the market.
The hardwired telematics solution has a Telematics Control Unit (TCU) composed of a GPS unit, mobile communication unit (GSM /CDMA, LTE, etc.), and microcontrollers. TCU communicates with vehicle ECU and communicates via a wireless network.
Another telematics solution is smartphone-based. These solutions are mobile applications that communicate with the onboard systems and capture, store and process real-time vehicular data. Though mobile applications used for telematics purposes are comparatively easy to access and affordable, they are also vulnerable to deliberate fraud.
Use of Telematics in Fleet Management
Telematics solutions can be integrated with vehicle sensors, ECUs, ADAS systems, and infotainment systems to enable many essential use cases for all sizes. Some of the use cases are:
- Vehicle Tracking: The fleet telematics solutions have integrated GPS / GNSS / GLONASS transmitters and receivers, enabling vehicle tracking features in the fleet management solution. Vehicle Tracking help fleet owners to check the optimum route of the car and enable them to check on the unauthorized use of the vehicle.
- Asset Tracking: Asset tracking is one of the most crucial features of the telematics solution. It reduces the risk on all the mobile assets with the vehicles. Fleet telematics solutions monitor sensors and loads of the vehicle and share real-time alerts if any unauthorized activity is noticed.
- Vehicle Maintenance: Vehicles involved in the fleet have to run day and night, and it becomes essential to track their health. Timely maintenance of the vehicle reduces the chances of vehicle breakdown during their run. Fleet telematics track hours of use of the vehicle, helps in scheduling preventive maintenance, keeps a tab on warranty recovery, and tracks engine hours and vehicle service records. All these vehicle features of telematics help fleet managers to keep the vehicle in safe operating conditions.
- Vehicle Safety: Fleet Telematics ensures vehicle safety by monitoring vehicle speed and location and notifies the driver and fleet managers if the vehicle overrates than the limit. Telematics solutions also detect harsh driving by monitoring hard braking and acceleration.
- Insurance Telematics: As telematics helps in tracking, storing, and transferring, vehicle and driver-related data, it helps the fleet owners to understand the driver behavior and adjust the vehicle insurance premium accordingly. With the help of telematics data, insurance companies can understand the driving skills of the driver and vehicle owner’s risk profile. Vehicle owner’s risk profile depends on the average distance he covers, the average speed of the vehicle, vehicle usage frequency, vehicle maintenance, breakdown records and more. All these factors decide the premium to be paid for the vehicle. A safe driver fleet company has to pay less insurance premium than a driver who drives rashly and uses the car a lot.
Benefits of Fleet Telematics
Telematics solutions are proving to be an asset for fleet management companies. They provide unprecedented benefits to fleet owners in securing vehicles on the run and optimizing the cost of fleet operations.
- Reduce Fuel Consumption: Telematics solution allows fleet managers to track the vehicle idling, vehicle route, and average usage of the fuel on that route. This will enable them to act promptly if fuel usage exceeds a specific volume in a measured period. Fleet owners can plan the best-suited route for the vehicle to improve its mileage.
- Increase Vehicle Safety: Telematics solution keeps a record of all the vehicle-related parameters such as driver behavior, vehicle routes, and vehicle health and notifies the fleet owner to take preventive steps to ensure vehicle safety.
- Improve Efficiency: Telematics improves the productivity of the entire fleet by providing the best routes to the destination via GPS, assisting drivers in case of vehicle breakdown instantly, monitoring vehicle’s performance, and more.
Is Telematics Affordable?
Telematics solutions are the need of the hour for big fleet owners. It helps in managing the fleet operations seamlessly. The telematics solution providers offer the solutions in many packages, and multiple factors decide the cost of telematics solutions. Hardware installation costs, monthly airtime costs, maintenance cost, in-vehicle sensors cost associated with telematics, and cloud platform subscription charges are associated with the telematics solution.
Telematics solutions also need to be upgraded over the air, and vendors chargers monthly service fees for the same. Telematics solution providers provide their services on annual or multi-year contracts. This has become a recurring revenue model for telematics service providers. These services include maintaining the telematics devices, installed, OTA updates, maintaining the records of everyday fleet tracking, insurance telematics, and more.
The future of Telematics
The future of telematics solutions is more inclined toward autonomous vehicles. In the end, autonomous vehicles will be part of the business fleets, and thus telematics will become an integral part of the new age fleets. The new enterprise software will be integrated with the telematics solutions and jobs like invoicing, tracking the parcels, and customer relationships monitored through the telematics solutions.