Devices Vs Smart Phone Apps  for Vehicle Telematics

Traditionally OBD (On-Board Diagnostics) systems were used by vehicles for self diagnosis and reporting. The function of the OBD was to use the vehicle data and provide feedback or raise an alarm to the Car driver.

Later came the Telematics devices. These external devices, fitted into the vehicle, can capture vehicle data and send it to apps and softwares from where drivers can get the reports & insights that’s needed.

While Telematics devices are still very much in use, there is a rising need for smartphone based Telematics

Smartphone based telematics is especially useful for applications where the requirement is to track the driver (more than the vehicle).

For example, consider gig-economy based solutions such as Delivery apps. Such companies usually onboard a large number of partners. Each partner comes with their own vehicles. Getting all vehicles fitted with required Telematics devices may be a very daunting task. An easier option would be to install an app on the smartphones of the delivery partners.

In case of situations such as car crashes, there have  been times when Telematics devices were too damaged to be helpful. In such cases smartphone based telematics apps provided a better alternative  to providing black box data.

What works better (Telematics Device  OR Smartphone based Telematics Apps) depends a lot on the industry. Traditional adopters of Telematics such as Fleet management systems heavily use Telematics Devices. However, there is an emerging need in such industries as well, for smartphone-based mobile telematics. This is because the fleet management industry too is moving from a pure asset heavy  model to an asset light aggregator model (i.e. the need to track the driver more than the vehicle)

Vehicle tracking using telematics

Telematics Devices for Automobiles

Automobiles today are using various types of Telematics Devices. Here are some of the popular types:

Blackbox Telematics Devices

Blackbox telematics devices are one of the original telematics devices. While they’ve been around for quite a while, they still get the job done and have various advantages, such as being able to recover your stolen car faster, accurate tracking options for mileage-based insurance, and more.

These telematics devices include the following hardware: SIM card and modem that work together to communicate important info about your driving behavior via a cellular network, GPS, an accelerometer, an interface for the engine, as well as a port and an interface for the engine. Black box telematics devices are easy to mount and transmit data effectively.

Bluetooth Powered Telematics Devices:

There are several ways to get telematics data to your insurance company: from clunky black boxes to using your smartphone as a tracking device. Another such telematics device is a Bluetooth-powered telematics device.

Bluetooth-powered devices can be mounted on your car’s dashboard and use Bluetooth to gather and share data about your driving behavior to your insurer. It communicates with your smartphone via Bluetooth and transmits data to the insurer through your phone. These devices have become growingly popular in recent years because they make installation easier than ever.

OBD-II Port Telematics Devices

If you drive a vehicle manufactured after 1996, there’s a good chance it has an OBD-II port already installed. The port, which is easy to locate under the steering wheel on most vehicles, provides Metromile with vehicle data like speed and motion.

On-Board Diagnostics, or “OBD,” is a computer-based system built into all 1996 and later light-duty cars and trucks. The OBD system monitors your vehicle’s engine, transmission, and emissions control components, looking for problems.

OEM telematics devices

With modern technology, it’s becoming a little easier to remain safe while driving on the road. OEM telematics devices use sensors built into your car to monitor your driving behavior with no installation. It is not as popular as other telematics devices due to its cost but this will change in the future as technology advances and allows for quicker and more frequent updating of those sensors. The port, which is easy to locate under the steering wheel on most vehicles, provides Metromile with vehicle data like speed and motion.

Active GPS Tracking Devices

 Active GPS trackers transmit data, such as location and speed, to the user’s computer and/or smartphone in real-time. This means that dispatchers receive immediate notifications of any changes in their vehicles’ movements, allowing for an extra layer of security.

Active GPS trackers transmit data, such as location and speed, to the user’s computer and/or a smartphone in real-time. This means that dispatchers can receive immediate notifications of any changes in their vehicles’ movements, allowing for an extra layer of security.

Active GPS trackers are incredibly useful for businesses where knowing the location of people and assets is vital to their operations. The ability to see a tracked vehicle’s location in real-time can show effective results for fleet managers, parents, and many others.

Passive GPS Tracking Devices

Passive GPS tracking devices provide users with a detailed report of their vehicle-driving statistics. It will retain information such as the distance traveled, time, sudden speed, and active driving time. 

What primarily separates active GPS trackers from passive ones is time. Passive GPS tracker is more of a data logger that stores the data through internal memory.

Smartphone Based Telematics for Automobiles

Smartphone-based telematics is a system of monitoring driving behavior. This could be in the form of everyday driving habits, or phone usage when behind the wheel. Driving infringements such as texting can be detected by the app by tracking the GPS, position, time and more.

Now, this can be done by building your own app using an API & SDK suite like Damoov. Damoov’s API collects the data, processes it & then provides the output. The output could be something like Driving Score or Eco Score

Using a smartphone-based application makes it easy for companies that manage fleets to track drivers rather than the vehicles.

Infact, for some applications like crash detection and reporting, smartphone solutions have shown better results. Especially when due to an accident the vehicle was too damaged to recover the tracking device.

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