Vehicle Telematics – What Is It, And Where Is It Going?

in car technology systems have become increasingly common in recent years. While many are directed at driver and passenger comfort, there is another technological arm which focuses on safety and monitoring on a wider scale – the technology of telematics. Broadly put, telematics merges telecommunications, the electrical systems of a vehicle, and computer science to collect and send data, control vehicles on the move, or automate programs such as an emergency warning system. The US Government identifies telematics as a key opportunity for businesses to create cost savings, and uses telematics systems itself as a matter of course in modern government vehicles. So what does telematics for other businesses, organizations and individuals look like in the years to come?

Small scale telematics systems

At the individual consumer end of the system, telematics includes hands-free cellphone technology, automatic driving assistance, and the wireless safety systems that are now found in some newer vans and cars. Many of these systems can also be retrofitted to older automobiles, upgrading their functionality and providing a safer ride. With the option to control your car with your voice and identify when you may be in danger of a collision, you can have a much clearer picture of where you are on the road, and who and what else is around you.

Wider fleet applications

Vehicle tracking is where telematics really makes an impact in fleet operations. For a business owner, having the ability to track in real time where vehicles are, how they’ve behaved on the way, and what they are doing is an extremely useful way to ensure efficiency and deal with any issues that arise quickly. Telematics systems extend to tracking containers and trailers too, with satellite communications allowing freight to be monitored and data recorded – useful evidence for a commercial business which needs to maintain an audit trail.

The big telematics picture

On a wider level still, telematics offers the option to oversee every area of a commercial fleet and all the vehicles within it, whether they be vans, cars or trucks. Intelligent telematics systems exist which can assist with maintenance monitoring, fuel management, dynamic vehicle scheduling… basically whatever you want to know about the vehicles in your care, you can ask the system to monitor and record it. Operationally, this provides a huge boost to productivity, lowers the risk of damage and downtime, and ultimately, reduces all costs associated with transport for a business.
The standard for telematics was introduced by the Association of Equipment Management Professionals in 2008, who brought together all the major manufacturers and innovators related to heavy equipment to agree the minimum requirements. Since then, the market has grown rapidly, as has the available technology. As costs for sensors and connectivity have decreased, so the market has increased, and it is predicted to continue to do so as more and more businesses move towards monitoring and smart solutions.
If you own a car, a van or a truck – or you operate a business that needs a reliable fleet of vehicles to thrive – it’s undoubtedly the case that telematics will play a big part in your driving experience over the next few years… that’s if it isn’t already making an impact of course, which for many people, it really is. With demand for commercial vehicle transportation also on the up, having a suitable telematics system in place is a no brainer for any organization that wants to succeed in what is already a competitive market.
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