Vehicle Telematics

Vehicle Telematics Definition

Vehicle telematics is an interdisciplinary field that combines telecommunications, informatics, computer science, electrical engineering, and vehicular technologies to create a vehicle telematics system that functions to collect and derive insight from vehicle telematics data and ultimately improve the efficiency and safety of the overall driver experience.

This image depicts the process of vehicle telematics and how the data collection is collected and transmitted.
Image from Verizon Connect

What is Vehicle Telematics?

Vehicle telematics combines GPS systems, onboard vehicle diagnostics, wireless telematics devices, and black box technologies to record and transmit vehicle data, such as speed, location, maintenance requirements and servicing, and cross-reference this data with the vehicle’s internal behavior. This information can be used in real-time analysis to improve overall driver safety, and reduce costs and improve performance for commercial vehicles.

What is a Vehicle Telematics System?

A vehicle telematics system includes vehicle telematics devices, which are tracking devices installed into vehicles that facilitate the transmission and storage of telemetry data via wireless networks and the vehicle’s own onboard modem and diagnostics (ODBII). Telecommunications companies manage the transmission of information from the vehicle and telematics provider to computers or mobile devices that can be accessed by drivers and fleet telematics managers.

Vehicle telematics providers typically offer a combination of IoT vehicle telematics solutions,  cloud, hardware, and software solutions, including GPS tracking, cloud-based platforms with easy integration for multiple partners, telematics sensors, fleet management software, a streamlined and accessible dashboard with visualizations, reporting capabilities, automated and configurable notifications and alarms, compliance parameters, and real-time Artificial Intelligence integration for early warnings and instant insights.

How Do Vehicle Telematics Systems Work?

Telematics devices collect then transmit GPS and vehicle-specific data via General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), 4G and cellular networks, or satellite communication to a centralized server, where the data is categorized, interpreted, and optimized for consumer user interfaces. 

Modern commercial vehicle manufacturers typically embed automotive telematics technology directly into fleet vehicles. Aftermarket GPS devices are also available for installation.

Telematics data typically includes such factors as fuel consumption, idling time, location, speed, sharp acceleration or braking, and vehicle faults. Benefits of vehicle telematics analytics include decreased fuel costs, improved driver safety, increased productivity, improved vehicle visibility through precise tracking, data driven vehicle maintenance schedules, maintaining ELD (Electronic Logging Device) compliance, and more precise payroll management.

What are Vehicle Telematics Used For?

Vehicle telematics applications include: 

  • Telematics Vehicle Tracking: In telematics vehicle tracking systems, GPS and an onboard GPRS modem communicate with the user and web-based software, transmitting and then transforming vehicle data into information with management reporting tools and mapping software. 
  • Trailer/Container Tracking: GPS devices communicate their location via mobile phone or satellite communication.
  • Fleet Vehicle Telematics Management: Commercial vehicle telematics involves the management of a company’s fleet of vehicles, which includes vehicle scheduling, financing, maintenance, and onboard diagnostics; driver, fuel, health, and improved safety management; reducing costs, improving productivity, minimizing vehicle investment risks, and maintaining compliance with Duty of Care obligations.
  • Telematics Standards: Vehicle telematics providers must adhere to standards developed by the Association of Equipment Management Professionals, which enables the delivery of telematics data in a standard xml format.
  • Wireless Vehicle Safety Communications: Sensors in electronic sub-systems installed in vehicles and in fixed locations, such as call boxes and near traffic signals, transmit important safety information via wider networks to driver displays. This is useful for optimizing routes and fuel usage in company vehicle telematics.
  • Emergency Warning Systems: Vehicle telematics architectures are open, self-orienting structures developed with the intent to blend warning information with vehicles in the vicinity. Telematics emergency warning systems can produce instantaneous autonomous warning notifications in real-time using computerized systems that update information at the same pace at which they receive data, which is particularly useful for intelligent vehicle technologies. Silicon micromachined components and radio transceivers work together to facilitate precision repeatability functions such as emergency warning validation performance reconstruction.
  • Carsharing: Vehicle telematics services facilitate the tracking of members' usage for pay-as-you-drive billing, tracking of available vehicles, and using GPS tracking to outline pre-defined geofence areas for available vehicles. 
  • Insurance: Insurance companies use driver behavior data to make risk assessments and charge customers premiums accordingly. Higher risk behavior, such as speeding and not obeying road signals, will result in higher premiums.

Does HEAVY.AI Support Vehicle Telematics Analytics?

Vehicle telematics solutions are applied in nearly every commercial industry that uses vehicles for transportation, providing fleet managers and analysts with valuable vehicle telematics data that drives insights, increases productivity, decreases costs, and improves driver safety. 

Whether managing a public sector vehicle fleet or tracking ships at sea, the HEAVY.AI platform can monitor and provide instant, seamless visualizations for billions of telematics data points at a granular level. HEAVY.AI can be used as a modern telco fleet analytics tool that facilitates cross-filtering and layering of fleet telematics data from various sources for optimized fleet and network operations.