Solutions for fuel level monitoring and transport assessment
February 14, 2020
Satellite monitoring of transport has long passed the stage when its functions were limited to locating objects. Today, thanks to modern telematics equipment and advanced software solutions, fleet managers can monitor most parameters of vehicle operation, efficiently plan their activities, reduce costs and increase business efficiency.
1. Fleet challenges and needs
Companies that operate transport are constantly facing high costs and are not protected against serious risks.
First of all, the biggest spending of vehicle fleets is fuel, and it is impossible to track its actual consumption precisely using traditional methods. Moreover, for many drivers, fuel is an additional source of income. There are many types of theft: from tank siphoning to fuel card fraud. In the absence of constant control, employees also do some side work, allow unreasonable downtime, violate the basic rules of operation of machinery, are negligent in the performance of their duties. As a result, the quality of work suffers, fuel overspending occurs, vehicles are subject to premature wear and tear, the company suffers losses.
2. Current solutions
GLONASS / GPS satellite tracking systems are used to overcome these problems and to improve the quality of transport operation. Satellite monitoring is often perceived as just the installation of a tracker and a software for obtaining location information. But in commercial vehicle fleets one cannot do without additional telematic equipment, which allows monitoring of various parameters of the vehicle in online mode and analyze them with the help of detailed reports.
Fuel level sensors (FLS) installed into the tank and fuel flowmeters mounted on the fuel line are used to solve problem #1, i.e. to reduce fuel costs and prevent fuel fraud. In addition to sensors reporting refuel, drain and fuel consumption, the transport is equipped with other devices to control the required parameters. In the case of trucks, these can be sensors for tyre pressure, axle load, coolant temperature, van door opening sensors, etc. Owners of special equipment use motor-hour sensors, position and rotation of mechanisms, photo and video surveillance equipment for remote control. Vehicle fleets with complex and expensive equipment often use devices that identify drivers using RFID readers, for example, to control the release of fuel. Driver behavior monitoring systems are becoming more common - they help prevent accidents in transport by analysing the way the car is driven.
Some vehicle categories do not always require additional equipment to be installed, as the monitoring systems can be configured to receive data from the CAN bus of the vehicle. However, to accurately monitor diesel fuel on trucks and special equipment, third-party devices are required. For example, the precision of FLS and flowmeters is around 98-99% while OEM automotive systems record fuel consumption with an inaccuracy of 15%.
3. Requirements to transport monitoring software
There is a wide choice of vehicle satellite monitoring apps and programs on the market. Attention to details like this will help not to make a mistake:
- availability of official certificates and licenses;
- confirmed feedback from users;
- increased warranty obligations of manufacturers;
- a guarantee of qualified technical support in the future.
No matter how exact and reliable the equipment is, it will not bring real benefit without the software backing, allowing a high-grade platform for transport monitoring, automation of service and acceptance of correct administrative decisions to be developed for your fleet.
GLONASS / GPS vehicle monitoring platform should provide quick access to data on the location and operation parameters of mobile objects: both online and for selected time periods. Users should be able to see information on any device (PC, smartphone, tablet), receive reports according to their own settings, set up prompt notifications of important events. Details of specific parameters should be displayed along with other readings to get precise idea of how the transport is working.
4. Our tips for choosing an integrator
The search for equipment for vehicle remote monitoring and the choice of an integrator company should be approached thoroughly, without an unnecessary rush. The market of satellite monitoring is saturated with offers, so there is a great chance of spending money on low-quality devices and non-professional services.
It is worth giving preference to the integrators, who have the opportunity to:
- offer your fleet the most technically clever and proven solutions;
- provide equipment for testing;
- confirm that the devices meet high criteria of accuracy and reliability;
- share the experience of their device operation in other companies.
It is essential to study the functionality of the software, including the ability to integrate with other IT systems in the enterprise. With this approach in the fleet, it will be possible to create an effective platform for monitoring and automation of transport service, as well as lay the foundation for the development of IoT infrastructure.