Vehicle tracking devices use either active or passive tracking. Passive tracking collects information about the vehicles movements though a gps logger. The information is stored internally on the device until it can be downloaded to a pc. This is suitable for applications where you just need to know where and what your vehicles have been doing.
The main disadvantage with passive trackers are they are unable to assist in finding a stolen vehicle, as they don’t transmit information about their location.
Active vehicle trackers collect similar data to passive devices however the live feed allows transport managers to have much greater interaction with their staff and vehicles. This technology also allows rules to be set outlining where and when vehicles and equipment are allowed to be used. Any operation outside of these rules will generate an instant alert which can be pushed to a monitoring station, tablet or mobile phone alerting to possible theft or misuse.
Plant equipment is extremely expensive and is actively targeted by criminal gangs, due to the level of planning involved and speed at which it can be moved out of the country the recovery rate on such equipment is low.
Active tracking devices are making an inroad into this problem with the ability to not only track stolen equipment but to send alerts notifiying users if vehicles or equipment is being operated or moved outside of preset geographical areas or times is a huge advantage in the fight against this type of crime.
Active tracking devices are also able to notify monitoring stations of a vehicle being involved in an accident or emergency. Alerts can be either automated in the case of an accident or driver triggered in the event of a breakdown or attack.
Passive and active vehicle trackers only differ physically in their ability to send live data using a mobile or satelite network.
Trackers can be fitted to any vehicle either as a self contained unit (typically attached using a strong magnet), a plug-in unit using the vehicles ODB port or as a ‘wired-in’ system which connects the tracker to the vehicles electrical system.
Wired and plug-in trackers use the vehicles electrical system, although they also have a back up power supply, incase the vehicle battery is disconnected. They can be programmed to transmit information from the vehicles computer, including fault codes, service intervals and emergency alerts either as a result of an accident, breakdown or attack.
If you are concerned about theft and recovery, ODB plugin trackers are easily identified and removed, a hidden active tracker in a self contained magnetic box would be an obvious choice and they can operate up to 6 months between charges. It is also worth considering a wired-in active tracker on a high value vehicle, infact some luxury vehicles now have them fitted as a factory option.
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