How Are Modern Fleets Getting Smarter with In-Vehicle Telematics?


Telematics, in its most comprehensive interpretation, represents the confluence of two sophisticated disciplines: telecommunications, encompassing technologies such as wireless communication, and informatics, which pertains to computational systems and technologies. This term has been predominantly employed to delineate in-vehicle telematics, commercial trucking telematics, and the advanced telematics solutions integrated into commercial fleet vehicles.

Gartner claims that “black box” technology and wireless telematics devices capture and send information on vehicle operation, maintenance needs, and automotive service. Many businesses use fleet management software, a subset of telematics, to keep track of their fleet’s vehicles and get a wider understanding of their performance, upkeep costs, and profitability.

In-Vehicle Telematics for Fleet Management

How Does Telematics Work?

To transmit, receive, and store telemetry data, an in-vehicle telematics system relies on a vehicle tracking device that is mounted in the vehicle. It uses one or two SIM cards to connect to a wireless network, and then it links to the automobile via the diagnostics port (OBDII) or CAN-BUS.

The unit monitors a vehicle’s location, images from onboard cameras, and other relevant data while communicating that to a control center through the cellular network, satellite connection, or GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) mobile data. The server deciphers the information and makes it accessible to users through private, mobile-friendly websites and applications.

Location, images from vehicle cameras and traffic cameras, motion, idle time, severe acceleration/braking, fuel economy, vehicle malfunctions, and more are all examples of information that an in-vehicle telematics system may gather. This data may shed light on a whole fleet if it is evaluated for certain occurrences and trends.

What Is Telematics Data and What Can You Do with It?

In-vehicle telematics data refers to the collection of various types of information from a vehicle, typically gathered through a device installed in the vehicle. This data can include the following:

  • GPS data: Information about the vehicle’s location, including latitude, longitude, and speed.
  • Image Data: Fleets such as buses often deploy cameras in the cabin to monitor the safety of passengers.
  • Odometer reading data: Information about the distance traveled by the vehicle.
  • Events such as ignition on or off: Information about when the vehicle was started or turned off.
  • Idle time: Information about how long the vehicle was not in motion.
  • Fuel economy: Information about the vehicle’s fuel consumption and efficiency.
  • Driving style, harsh braking, and acceleration: Information about how the vehicle is being driven, including sudden braking or acceleration. 
  • Traffic information: Information about traffic conditions in the area, such as congestion or construction.
  • Engine diagnostics and warnings: Information about the vehicle’s performance, such as diagnostic trouble codes or warning lights.
  • Theft attempts: Information about attempted break-ins or theft of the vehicle.

Telematics data can be used for various purposes, such as improving vehicle performance, tracking and managing fleet vehicles, reducing fuel consumption, and improving driver safety. For example, a fleet manager might use telematics data to monitor vehicle usage and identify excessive idling or harsh braking patterns. In contrast, individual drivers might use the data to monitor their own driving habits and improve fuel efficiency.


How to Use Telematics for Trucking Fleet Management?

Telematics for Navigation and Tracking

In-vehicle telematics can be used for trucking fleet management in a variety of ways. Some key examples include:

1. Navigation, Vehicle Tracking, Routing

The combination of GPS satellites and receivers, cloud computing, and GPRS networks enables the tracking, navigation, and routing of moving vehicles. To utilize applications like GPS navigation systems for drivers, a GPS receiver must first download data from GPS satellites and then analyze it. Furthermore, it sends the data through GPRS to the web servers utilized by the office personnel, who may then use it to assign the closest driver to a new assignment.

2. Trailer and Asset Tracking

Trailers, as well as other non-motorized assets, may have GPS trackers attached to them to prevent them from going missing, and drivers can use the trackers to get directions to parked trailers. When drivers need to unhitch a trailer, they may mark the spot on their GPS and provide the information to whoever needs to get there. Managers may also get immediate notifications on their mobile devices if a trailer or asset is relocated without authorization.

3. Safety Tracking 

In-vehicle telematics allows the control center or assigned user to monitor not just the speed and location of vehicles, but also the safety of both driver and passenger through the monitoring system. From whether or not riders are wearing seat belts, to the condition of the driver, even to the passenger violence event. Telematics offers a digital record of every element of the functioning of a vehicle, which assists fleet management in identifying areas in which accident-preventative measures and driver safety requirements may be improved.

4. Relaying Vehicle Diagnostic Data

In-vehicle telematics devices can also relay vehicle diagnostic data to fleet managers, including information on engine performance, diagnostic trouble codes, or other warning signals. This information can be used to identify vehicles’ problems early on and schedule maintenance or repairs as needed, which can help reduce downtime and improve the fleet’s overall performance.


Benefits of Adopting IoT in Trucking Telematics

IoT integration with in-vehicle telematics (IoT telematics) facilitates the use of predictive analytics by service providers and fleet operators. This sets the stage for proactive management and gives you an edge in many important areas of operation.

1. Streamlined Service Calls 

When Internet of Things (IoT) sensors are installed in service-centric products like air conditioners, they may trigger a service call only when necessary. Condition-based management is a useful tool for cutting maintenance expenses and providing better service to customers.

2. Smoother Communication between the Fleet & Management

Adopting IoT in in-vehicle telematics allows for smoother communication between the fleet and management by providing real-time data on the vehicles’ locations, speeds, fuel levels, and maintenance status. This information can be accessed through a web-based platform, allowing easy monitoring and management of the fleet. Additionally, IoT-enabled devices within the vehicles can send alerts to fleet managers in case of any issues. 

3. Increased Fuel Efficiency

The cost of fuel is a major outlay for any fleet. When IoT sensors are combined with an existing fleet telematics system, they give managers an almost real-time look into how much fuel each vehicle consumes and how much it costs. This allows managers to determine who needs to be educated on effective driving habits and who is responsible for unnecessary operating expenditures and driving patterns such as idling, which may waste fuel.

4. Preventative Maintenance 

Sensors connected to the Internet of Things can rapidly and accurately provide diagnostic information on the condition of a fleet’s vehicles. In other words, this helps fleet managers rapidly determine whether a vehicle is experiencing a technical problem or is due for scheduled repair. Thus, vehicle lifespan is increased, downtime is decreased, vehicle safety is enhanced, and the need for expensive emergency repairs is reduced.


Sourcing Quality In-Vehicle Computing Solutions

SINTRONES’s In-Vehicle Computing provides a comprehensive solution for in-vehicle telematics, from monitoring driver performance to facilitating autonomous movement. SINTRONES’ In-vehicle computers are highly flexible, supporting a wide range of peripherals and connections, and can be adapted to all kinds of vehicle management systems like those with GPS, fleet monitoring, and vehicle repairing systems.

SINTRONES VBOX Series acquires certifications including the E-mark, thereby ensuring the utmost product quality and safety. The VBOX Series boasts an isolated power design, a crucial feature that guarantees the safety and integrity of the vehicle system. Moreover, this advanced system is equipped with a PoE port, enabling seamless connectivity with side peripherals such as cameras, enhancing overall functionality and versatility. Embrace a new standard of in-vehicle computing excellence with the SINTRONES VBOX Series.

Learn how our in-vehicle computing products may be used in conjunction with telematics to improve the efficiency and productivity of truck fleets.