The adoption of vehicle tracker systems in cars and fleets is on the rise. Modern trackers have shrunk in form factor and enhanced functionality to support active transmission of data for real-time tracking. In addition, backup capability and lower voltages are required to power the system GPRS chipset.
1. Background knowledge of vehicle tracker system
Vehicle tracker systems are ideal for monitoring individual vehicles or entire fleets. The tracking system consists of automatic tracking hardware and data acquisition software (and data transfer if required).
The global fleet management market size was valued at USD 8 billion in 2015 and is expected to exceed USD 22 billion by 2022, growing at a CAGR of over 20% from 2016 to 2023.
Growing demand for commercial vehicles in regions such as Latin America, the Middle East and Africa is also a potential growth opportunity. In developed regions such as Europe and North America, the integration of Internet of Things (IoT) technology in vehicles is expected to boost the adoption of vehicle tracker systems, although the high cost of integration has slowed the process.
Furthermore, the Asia Pacific vehicle GPS tracker products market size is expected to witness substantial growth over the forecast period, with Japan, India, and China being the major driving countries. These emerging markets have huge potential, mainly because of their large number of commercial vehicles.
2. Active and passive trackers
Active and passive trackers collect data in the same way and with equal precision. The main difference between the two types is related to time. Active trackers are also known as real-time trackers because they transmit data via satellite or cellular networks to instantly indicate the vehicle's location. In this way, the computer screen can display its movement in real time. This makes active tracking the best option for businesses looking to improve delivery efficiency and monitor employee driving. Active trackers also have geofencing capabilities (think of this feature as enforced territory), providing alerts when vehicles enter or leave a predetermined location. Such vehicle tracker systems also help prevent theft and assist in the recovery of stolen vehicles. Of course, active GPS tracking devices are more expensive than passive ones and require a monthly service fee.
Passive trackers, on the other hand, are less expensive, smaller and easier to conceal. The downside is that data storage is limited. The information is stored on the device rather than transmitting the data to a remote location. To view any of the information, the tracker must be removed from the vehicle and plugged into the computer. This type of vehicle tracker system is for people who log mileage for work purposes, or businesses that want to reduce vehicle abuse.
In addition, they are often chosen to monitor human behavior. Passive trackers are a good option if immediate feedback is not required and there is a plan to periodically check device data.
Both types of trackers are inherently portable and have relatively small form factors. As such, they require battery power and backup capabilities to preserve data in the event of a power outage. Due to the higher automotive system voltages and currents required to charge the battery (usually a single-cell Li-Ion). Compared with linear battery charging IC, switching mode charger has higher charging efficiency and less heat generated by power loss, so it is a better choice. Typically, the input voltage for embedded automotive applications is as high as 30 V, and some are even higher. In these GPS tracking systems, the ideal charger is a 12 V to single lithium-ion battery (typical value is 3.7 V), with additional protection to withstand higher input voltage (in case of voltage transient due to battery out of control) and some backup capability.