Fleet Tracking 101 + All About Commercial Truck GPS Tracking

Fleet managers need to track vehicles, equipment, and machinery to ensure their safety and know where they are. For example, you may want to know how fleet tracking works, whether you already have a fleet management business or are new. This article teaches how a GPS tracker for commercial trucks works and what data it may provide to your company.
Babak Heydari

Babak Heydari

April 22, 2022

What is a Fleet Tracking System?

A fleet tracking system, also known as a fleet management system or a GPS fleet tracking system, allows companies to track and manage vehicles, equipment, and assets in real-time. Although other options exist, most fleet management systems use GPS to track vehicle whereabouts. Fleet monitoring solutions provide businesses with more than just the ability to track vehicle locations. They can assist organizations in monitoring fuel levels, preventing the maintenance and technical issues, optimizing routes, and reducing operational expenses. The commercial truck GPS tracker is designed for vehicles, boats, and trailers. It can be relatively small, frequently less than the size of a cell phone. Many trackers rely on the car for power, so they do not require large batteries; however, a backup battery is good. Plug-in, hardwired, and battery-operated options are all available. These gadgets use a cellular connection to share information. Remote users can utilize a cellphone app or a secure online connection to retrieve the commercial truck GPS tracking data.

Plug-In GPS Tracker | Different Types of Trackers

GPS trackers that plug into a car's port are plugin GPS trackers. All cars in the United States have been required to have an OBD II port since the mid-1990s. Mechanics plug their computers into this port to obtain data from the car's sensors. A commercial truck GPS tracker can also get power and data from the port. Plugin trackers are compact, easy to install, and detect whether a vehicle is on or off. It allows them to choose between active and sleep modes, which submit data less frequently to prevent the automobile battery from being drained. It also allows them to receive notifications whenever a vehicle is started or stopped. Plugin models are a good choice for both personal and business matters.

Hardwired GPS Tracker | Commercial Truck GPS Tracking

Hardwired devices are those that are permanently connected to a vehicle. It may be done if the vehicle lacks an OBD II port. Older cars, for example, may not have an OBD port, and diesel trucks may utilize a different OBD standard that is not compatible. The commercial truck GPS tracking devices that are hardwired can also be disguised. They can be positioned anywhere under the dashboard because they are not connected to the OBD port. However, if implemented correctly, they retain all of the benefits of the plugin design. A hardwired unit may provide more freedom to users than a plugin model in some instances. For example, business owners do not always use hardwired GPS trackers to track work trucks. A hardwired unit may be the best alternative for a family who wants to track their diesel vehicle or hybrid car. You can read about the best commercial truck routing software here.

Battery Powered Tracker | Fleet Tracking Device

GPS devices with batteries are not affected by the vehicle's electrical system. Instead, their long-lasting battery will power them. They communicate their whereabouts to monitors much like any other tracking device. However, they may not report in as frequently to conserve battery life. When the vehicle is running, vehicle-mounted units typically report once every minute and once every hour when it is not. While they detect motion, battery-powered GPS trackers typically report once every 15 minutes and once every four hours when they are at rest. These are commonly found on trailers that tow boats or motorcycles and can be mounted on cargo containers, dumpsters, and even construction equipment. The batteries are often quite powerful and can last for months or even years without recharging. They are frequently built to be bolted into place and are more prominent than plugin devices.

What is the Technology in Top Tracking Systems?

The most prevalent technology utilized in fleet tracking is GPS. Most commercial truck GPS tracking systems track locations using satellite-based GPS systems and a cellular network to relay that data to the platform. Many GPS trackers contain on-board processing capabilities, security layers, and embedded device logic, such as power management and communications protocol management systems. Most commercial truck GPS tracking systems have an accelerometer on board that detects motion. Connected devices may support additional communication protocols, such as Bluetooth or Low Energy. This capability allows a connected device to communicate with other receivers or sensors in the vicinity. For example, every linked gadget could communicate with a sensor in a key fob.


What are the Networks and Features of the GPS Tracking System?

Many gadgets have twin radios to provide backward compatibility with 2G networks. These devices commonly use GPRS/HSPA (Generalized Packet Radio Service or High-Speed Packet Access) networks. Newer Fleet Tracking devices use 4G, 4G LTM, or 4G LTE Cat-M, which are advanced networks developed primarily for small, frequent transmissions. Compared to earlier networks, devices on this network use significantly less power and often have more robust connectivity characteristics. The OBD (On-Board Diagnostic) port is frequently used by fleet tracking systems. A fleet tracking device linked to this port can gather and relay advanced diagnostic data and location and speed. The following are some of the features of fleet tracking systems: - Speed - Direction - Location - Fuel Level - Trip Tracking - Battery Voltage - History of Trips - Mileage or Odometer - Breadcrumbs during a trip - Diagnostic Trouble Code notification A manager can receive real-time performance information by email, text, or in-app notification with some fleet tracking systems. Here are several monitor examples: - Disconnection alert - Battery voltage alert - Speed threshold alert - Excessive Idling alert - Geo-fencing entry and exit alert On-demand and downloadable reports are available from some fleet tracking systems. We can sort and analyze them quickly by downloading them into a spreadsheet.

What Does a Commercial Truck GPS Tracker Do?

GPS fleet tracking software can track vehicles, plan routes, and provide instructions to specific locations. It also contains data on car diagnostics, maintenance tracking, and safe driving practices. Many hardware devices have accelerometers and other sensors, so the software will record if your driver abruptly brakes or accelerates. Some services even provide information on sharp turns and corners. This technology also allows you to track idling time, which is crucial for optimizing fuel efficiency. These software capabilities give you a platform to manage your fleet, track fuel efficiency, and analyze your drivers' behaviors. For optimizing workflow, most software includes dispatching tools and scheduling capabilities. These qualities have the potential to improve consumer happiness. Accident tracking, roadside help, anti-theft service, time clocks, and attendance tracking are among the other functions.

How Much Does GPS Fleet Tracking Cost?

The cost of GPS fleet tracking services varies widely depending on what you want to be handled and tracked and the number of cars you have. Prices per month vary from USD 15 to USD 30 to USD 40 per vehicle. There is often a one-time fee for the hardware that goes into each vehicle and the monthly costs. On the other hand, some providers allow you to rent the equipment for an additional monthly price. However, a one-year commitment is required for many GPS fleet tracking services. On the other hand, some providers provide free trials and money-back guarantees, allowing you to try out the commercial truck GPS tracker before committing to a long-term subscription.


What are the Features of the Top Tracking System and Software?

To get the best system for you, ensure it includes the functionality your company needs. The majority of fleet management systems provide several standard functions. If you are looking for the best fleet tracking app, make sure it includes these six features:

1. It Synchronizes Data with Fleet Tracking Software

The ideal fleet management app should primarily work in tandem with cloud-based fleet management software. Your data is immediately synchronized between a computer and a fleet tracking app, which you may download to your mobile device. Although fleet tracking apps are beneficial, not all mobile app functionality is equal. You should access the most critical tracking information for your registered fleet assets. Furthermore, your fleet tracking app should make real-time location data from telematics devices available. It's important to keep looking if you evaluate a fleet tracking or fleet management app that is a stripped-down version of the web-based product.

2. It Enables Real-Time Communication | Top Tracking System

Your goal as a fleet manager is to be as proactive as possible. Unexpected problems will inevitably come, but how you intend to deal with them will make all the difference. Using a fleet tracking tool will keep fleet managers up to date on where their vehicles are while also allowing for real-time communication between you and field operators. You may also use a good solution to set up notification criteria to prioritize issues and start workflows to deal with them. We can also prevent fuel and equipment theft using real-time fleet position updates. You can confirm a purchase was solely to fill a fleet vehicle by focusing on the vehicle's location and comparing it to the area where fuel was purchased. This extra layer of safety can also help you save money on fleet insurance by lowering your premiums.

3. It Coordinates Geo-fencing Parameters | Fleet Tracking

Managing a fleet necessitates wearing several hats, and you cannot keep track of everything all at once. Consider a platform with variable geo-fencing borders to make location monitoring easier. If you are unfamiliar with geo-fencing, a virtual boundary surrounds a particular location. You work for Amazon and run a service fleet or last-mile delivery operations. You have planned a broad path for your drivers and want them to stick to it. Using geofencing features in fleet management software, you can identify particular places a fleet vehicle should go in within a given timeframe. You will get notifications when a vehicle in your fleet enters or exits a geo-fencing area once you have specified the restrictions. With a fleet management system and fleet tracking software, you can control geo-fencing locations anywhere. It is exceptionally time-saving and allows you to keep track of your fleet's position without checking every mile they travel.

4. It Is Easy to Use | Tracking Device for Semi Truck

Finding technology that is simple to adopt and use across the crew is an ongoing issue for fleets. Your investment will be fruitless if you cannot quickly find vital information or if your drivers cannot figure out how to input details. A fleet management tool should be simple enough for even the most minor tech-savvy team member to use. Many developers strive for a user-friendly and uncomplicated experience when developing a mobile app. Take the time to go over the capabilities of the fleet tracking app and put it to the test.

5. It Supports Unlimited Users | Fleet Tracking

We know that managing a fleet is a team effort, and each procedure involves a variety of stakeholders. Unfortunately, many fleet management software companies that provide mobile apps have price schemes based on the number of users. The per-user cost can quickly add up with a team of drivers and additional users such as mechanics. You want all of your stakeholders to be able to use the mobile app to receive real-time updates. Software companies that charge per asset are cost-effective, making it easier for your employees to collaborate. Software with unlimited users is an excellent choice to reduce communication blockages and address issues quickly, whether for your truckers or technicians.

6. It Provides Access Levels | Commercial Truck GPS Tracking

You will want to double-check user restrictions once you have decided on a fleet tracking software that enables unlimited users. Only fleet managers and administrators should access locations, sensitive data, and other fleet metrics. In the most okay fleet tracking app, you can create individual constraint levels for some users. Truckers should only have access to items relevant to their everyday tasks, such as inspections and communication tools.

Final Thoughts

Experiences fleet managers with commercial cars on the road, looking for top tracking systems and commercial truck GPS tracking software and devices to increase productivity. Start your 14-day trial today to see how we can improve your fleet's productivity.

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