Real-Time Vehicle Data Integration with Telematic Systems

by Mar 12, 2024#IoT, #HomePage

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Table Of Content

  1. Real-Time Vehicle Data Integration with Telematic Systems
  2. What Is Telematics?
  3. Components of a Telematics System
    1. Telematics Devices
    2. Telematics Modules
    3. Telematics Control Unit (TCU)
    4. Engine Control Unit (ECU)
    5. Geotab Devices
  4. How Does Telematics Work?
  5. Telematics Fleet Management
  6. Key Takeaway

Real-Time Vehicle Data Integration with Telematic Systems

As connectivity becomes increasingly important in our daily lives, users expect the same connectivity level and real-time data integration within their vehicles. As a result, enterprises invest in telematic systems to keep up with innovation, enhancing existing products and creating new products.

Telematics are important capabilities for implementing IoT systems in fleets or truck settings because they provide real-time data for monitoring the location and behavior of the vehicle—an essential management tool for optimizing fleet operations, reducing costs, and improving safety.

This blog post covers an overview of telematics and important aspects of telematics for trucks. It also discusses terms related to telematics in IoT, such as telematic devices, modules, options and features, and integration with mobile applications for greater efficiency in telematic use cases.

What Is Telematics?

Telematics, also known as GPS fleet tracking, encompasses transmitting, storing, and analyzing data related to vehicles and other assets. A telematics system consists of hardware and software components that enable vehicle data collection, transmission, and processing. Telematics devices, or modules, are the primary components of telematics systems, collecting and transmitting real-time data wirelessly to a central server or mobile application.

Telematics systems enable the monitoring and management of fleets by leveraging data to optimize operations, reduce costs, and enhance safety.
Telematics devices are installed in vehicles to transmit real-time data wirelessly to a central server or mobile application, providing information about vehicle performance, remote diagnosis, location, route optimization, driver behavior, and other fleet management tasks.

In trucks, telematics can also detect maintenance issues before they become major problems, reducing downtime and extending vehicle lifespan. Additionally, telematics can aid in complying with safety and emissions regulations.

Components of a Telematics System

It is necessary to understand these physical components and functions to engage in the design of a telematics system.

Telematics Devices

Telematics devices are small, standalone electronic devices (called black boxes) that can be easily installed on vehicles to record information. Telematics devices or modules are the primary components of telematics systems and are essential for collecting and transmitting data. Telematics device behavior is controlled by running firmware that is updated regularly over the air (OTA).

Telematics Modules

Telematics modules are designed to specifications and integrated into the vehicle’s electronic system, such as the engine control module. They typically include components such as a microcontroller, GPS receiver, accelerometers, other sensors, an On-Board Diagnostics interface (OBD), cellular or satellite modem, memory, and power management.

The On-Board Diagnostics interface allows the telematics device to connect to the vehicle computer system (engine control unit) and collect and process data on engine performance, fuel consumption, and diagnostic codes.

On-board diagnostic (OBD) ports integrate vehicles into the fleet by connecting with fleet management software and other systems. OBD was usually connected to the console, and OBD II is the new generation that integrates within the vehicle and has been mandatory since 1996.

Telematics Control Unit (TCU)

The telematics control unit (TCU), also known as telematics communication interface control module (TCICM), is responsible for controlling the communication of the telematics system components (collecting and transmitting the vehicle’s data) and acting as a telematic gateway between the engine control module (ECM), telematics device, and the telematics server. The telematics control unit (TCU) receives data from the telematics device and receives commands for the telematics server to perform functions in the vehicle.

Engine Control Unit (ECU)

The engine control unit (ECU) controls the engine’s operation and uses sensors to monitor the performance and adjusts based on the data collected. The engine control unit integrates with the telematics control unit (TCU) to send data about the engine’s performance and receive data to adjust the engine remotely.

Geotab Devices

Geotab devices are telematics devices designed to be easily installed and highly customizable to meet the needs of different telematics fleets. Geotab devices connect to the onboard diagnosis port (OBD-II). They also have an open platform that pulls data and synchronizes with other applications through software development kits (SDKs) and APIs.

How Does Telematics Work?

Telematics systems are designed so they can understand and translate vehicle diagnostic codes. The telematics device retrieves information generated by the vehicle and sends it to the cloud and fleet management system. Then, a data normalization process is performed to decode and format the data to integrate it into the telematics solution (specific connection types and OBD protocols).

A telematics platform and telematics software are programmed (coded) with the logic to determine the data points relevant to the telematics use case and efficiently transmit the data to the servers.

Algorithms are applied to data points to recognize patterns and attributes and create features for predictive models.

Telematics Fleet Management

Telematics systems are essential for fleet management applications and consist of a telematics control unit (TCU), a telematics cloud server, and a front-end web and mobile app.

There are many telematics applications: fleet asset management, navigation and location-based systems, infotainment systems, safety and security, vehicle-to-cloud (V2X), insurance telematics, and others.

Telematics fleet management software collects and processes the data and capabilities to manage all the tasks related to the fleet (end-to-end) and provides dashboards with key metrics, reports, and analytics for decision-making.

Key Takeaway

Telematics systems are crucial for optimizing fleet operations, reducing costs, and enhancing safety. Telematics devices, modules, and control units collect and transmit real-time data wirelessly to a central server or mobile application, providing information about vehicle performance, remote diagnosis, location, route optimization, and driver behavior.

Telematics systems can be designed with machine learning capabilities and provide an advanced system to manage vehicle fleets end-to-end.

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