What is telematics?

As its name suggests, telematics combines telecommunications technology and informatics. When installed in fleets, these devices can gather, store, receive and send information from vehicles to fleet managers to show how vehicles are being operated. Companies are able to see how quickly a vehicle brakes, for instance, or whether it's speeding, or operating outside of a pre-determined route or time of day. Telematics data can provide valuable insights into driver behavior and enable businesses to assess and mitigate the risks of various driving behaviors.

How telematics works

Vehicle telematics devices are offered by a variety of vendors and can use a combination of several technologies, including:

  • Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation technology – a satellite-based system of providing exact location to the user. Devices can measure distance traveled, speeds compared to local limits, provide location alerts through geo-fencing and assist in recovery of missing or stolen vehicles.
  • Accelerometers – devices that measure acceleration in two or three axis of motion. They collect data that can be used for detailed analysis of driver behavior through
    g-force calculations and collision detection, giving you a better understanding of your drivers and the ability to coach driver behavior. Accelerometers can also provide details needed for accident reconstruction.
  • Technology that links to vehicle computers – some telematics devices interface with car computers. They range from plug & play models that clip onto the car's OBD port to those with either internal or external antennae that require professional installation. The devices provide information on braking and acceleration, seat belt usage, fuel economy and consumption, and captures maintenance information such as engine malfunctions. Some advanced systems can also gather in-cab information like cell phone usage.

For more information, see Getting Started.

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