Need for fuel monitoring
With the increasing demand on Road Transport industry, the volume of trucks is increasing in fast pace. Thus is the need for operations management of fleet and prevention of Fuel thefts, as the fuel stands out to be the costliest component in the trucking industry.
Often we sense the confusion in the fleet owners about GPS tracking & Fuel Monitoring. The objective of this post is to help as a primer to make the distinction clear.
What is fuel monitoring?
Fuel monitoring keeps you updated about the fuel statistics in your trucks. It should basically provide data and answer your questions such as when the fuel tank refilled? How many liters of fuel refilled? What is the fuel consumption rate of my truck? What is the actual mileage of each vehicle? Did someone steal the fuel?
Fuel monitoring, thus gives you complete control over the fuel statistics of your vehicles.
What is GPS?
Global Positioning System (GPS) is a space-based satellite navigation system, which provides the location & time information of any object having a GPS Receiver or GPS Tracker to put it simple. If you have a GPS Tracker installed in your truck, you will receive this information, at every point your vehicle moves. It also provides the derived parameters such as speed, status of vehicle: STOPPED or MOVING, Distance travelled between two locations, Acceleration, Deceleration, etc.
How this information is made available remotely?
Now that the GPS Receiver has gathered location, time & other derived information, it needs to be transmitted to a remote server or a mobile phone to make the live information available to you. It requires a technology such as GSM, CDMA, GPRS, or Satellite Communication.
Though the satellite communication is the best among others, it is really un-affordable due to huge costs involved. So, the affordable ones are GSM or GPRS technologies or simply the Mobile Internet that you use in your smart phones every day. All the GPS Trackers have an in-built GPRS modem that provides the mobile internet with the help of a SIM card.
What is GPS based live Vehicle Tracking?
It is a solution that makes use of GPS Trackers (GPS & GPRS modem inside!) and a server and provides the live information of your vehicles via a Web Application or software or a mobile application. With GPS based vehicle tracking system, you will know the whereabouts of your fleet of vehicles & other information such as speed, over speeding, harsh braking, halts etc.
What is Advanced Vehicle tracking?
As the technology is advancing day by day, we see lot of sensors being integrated into the GPS Trackers! So, your GPS Tracker can now get more and more data with the help of sensors, thus making it an Advanced Vehicle Tracker.
Integration of sensors open door to many intelligent monitoring such as monitoring the temperatures inside your vehicle, tracking temperature of parcel cartons for cold transport, tire pressures of your vehicle, identification of drivers using ID technologies such as RFID, tracking your parcels using RFID or NFC, to name a few!
Back to the topic of Fuel monitoring …
So now we know, a basic GPS tracking solution is not a Fuel Monitoring solution!
Fuel monitoring solution needs an Advanced Vehicle Tracker, a Sensor that gets you live fuel statistics and intelligent software to process these information and provide the fuel levels, fuel quantity & automatically detect fuel refill & thefts in liters.
As fuel monitoring is a sensitive thing, it needs to be accurate and dependable. The accuracy of the fuel monitoring is decided by the sensors you choose and the intelligence of your software processing. There are wide choices of fuel sensors, such as float sensor, resistive, ultra-sonic & capacitive sensors (in order of their prices).
The sensor that most truck manufacturer uses falls into float or resistive category, where an approximate fuel level indication on the dashboard fuel gauge is possible. Many of us may recall scenarios where the truck fuel gauge displayed 50 Liters remaining and the truck went out of diesel in just 80 KM.
So, next time you think of a Fuel Monitoring solution, check the sensor that’s being used and accuracy of fuel monitoring. Following check list may help:
- What Fuel Sensor is being used?
- What is the accuracy of fuel sensor?
- Can it report remaining fuel in the tank, in Liters? (Instead of %)
- How accurate is the distance calculation?
- Can it automatically detect the refill quantity & theft quantity?