GPS tracking systems are an integral part of modern fleet management, but have you ever thought about how they actually work? Read on to learn more about GPS tracking hardware components and how they can benefit your fleet.
GPS Hardware Components
There are two main pieces of any GPS system: the global positioning satellite system and the GPS tracking devices installed in your fleet vehicles.
The Global Positioning Satellite System
All GPS devices in the world run based on data from satellites in orbit around the globe. This is the Global Positioning System (GPS). These satellites are a part of a joint military and civil program called Navstar GPS, initiated in 1973 by the US government. Today, these satellites are still maintained by the US government and operated by the US Space Force.
GPS Tracking Devices
The other end of the system is the devices you install in your vehicles or the hardware within other devices with GPS capabilities. These are called GPS receivers. In general, receivers contain three basic components:
- An antenna to receive the signal
- A processor to convert the signal to useful data
- A display unit to show the information to the user
If there is no display unit, the receiver sends the data to a cloud-based software that can be viewed on third-party devices.
How GPS Works
Now that you understand the physical components of a GPS tracker, you may wonder how it works. GPS tracking triangulates the receiver's location by bouncing a signal off at least three, and up to as many as eight, of the satellites in the network. In essence, it measures the precise distance between the receiver and each satellite. The tracker’s internal software uses this information to precisely pinpoint the tracker in 3D.
But this system can provide much more data than a simple pinpoint on a map. It can also tell you the speed at which the tracker is moving, the direction it’s heading, and much more. Today’s fleet management systems typically use GPS trackers for dispatch, monitoring, and many other aspects of daily operations.
Benefits of GPS Tracking Hardware
It’s hard to overstate the importance of GPS tracking hardware in the modern fleet management industry. Here are a few of the benefits it provides to fleets large and small.
- Improved Safety
GPS tracking can monitor your fleet for unsafe driving behaviors like speeding and hard braking. By keeping track of which drivers exhibit these risky behaviors, you can address the problem with additional training before it results in an accident.
- Easier Communication
Before GPS tracking was widely adopted within the industry, it was common to have drivers call in throughout the day to check in with management. If emergency stops need to be added throughout the day, dispatch would have to contact each driver to see who was closest. Now, fleet managers and dispatch can see every vehicle in the fleet on the map at a glance.
- Simplified Navigation
Many GPS solutions also offer real-time route planning, directing drivers around road construction, traffic congestion, and other hazards with ease. Such systems will also plan out the day’s routes, easily scheduling each stop and the route between them for the easiest path possible and saving time as drivers spend less of it sitting in traffic or attempting to find each stop.
- Reduced Fuel Costs
Just as GPS saves time, it can also save fuel. By offering the smoothest route for each driver, your fleet will waste less fuel idling in traffic or taking the long way around when better routes are available. Since fuel costs are one of the largest parts of any fleet budget, reducing them should be a priority for every fleet.
GPS Tracking from Azuga
Azuga’s fleet tracking system offers the above benefits and many more. We also have all the add-on features you could possibly want to help you run your fleet efficiently and effectively. We can track large equipment, help you create and run a driver safety rewards program, improve fleet sustainability, and stay in compliance with eLogs. Want to know more? Schedule a demo to learn about the many ways Azuga can benefit your fleet.