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What is Telematics?

Updated at 10 Dec, 2021

— Explore the functionalities of telematics in cars, how it is used, and how it can be beneficial for fleet management. Learn more!

What is Telematics?
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You may have heard the term telematics, and you may also have been told it will make your job easier and may even be using it without realizing. You may even know that it is the foundation of modern fleet management.

Answering the question “what is telematics?” in short technical terms, it’s a system that uses telecommunication and information technology or processing to provide actionable.

The most common use of telematics in fleet management is vehicle tracking. By combining a GPS tracking system with onboard diagnostics, the exact location of a vehicle and the speed at which it is moving can be mapped.

What is Telematics on a car?

Essentially, telematics is a combination of telecommunications and informatics, and is a merger of technology including phones lines and cables, and computer systems.

Today, the phrase "telematics solutions" is widely used to describe the telematics used in commercial fleet vehicles.

There are several benefits to using telematics for fleets all over the world. It contributes to improved vehicle maintenance and safety, while saving the business both time and money.

Wireless telematics devices and "black box" technologies capture and send data on vehicle use, maintenance requirements, car service, etc. and is a combination of communication, navigation, and security into a single dashboard-compatible device.

Fleet management software, a subset of telematics, is a popular choice for modern businesses because it allows them to coordinate the cars they manage and obtain a complete picture of the health, profitability, and productivity of their whole fleet.

Telematics systems collect vehicle data by using a variety of technologies, including GPS, sensors, and on-board diagnostic codes. This data includes real-time things like vehicle location, driver behavior, and engine diagnostics.

Elements in Telematics systems

The following elements are commonly seen in telematics systems:

How does Telematics work?

A fleet management telematics system is made up of telematics devices that are installed in fleet vehicles and used to send, receive, and store telemetry data. It uses a SIM card to connect to a vehicle's onboard diagnostics system or CAN-BUS port. An onboard modem transmits data through a wireless network.

The telematics device collects GPS tracking data as well as a variety of vehicle-specific information and delivers it to a centralized server for storage through General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), 4G/5G mobile data and cellular networks, or satellite connection.

The information is received by the server and displayed via a secure website accessible via desktops, tablets, or smartphones. The information transfer between the car and the telematics provider is managed by a telecommunications firm, like AutoPi.

Location, speeding, forceful acceleration or braking, idle time, fuel consumption, engine condition, and other data can be collected by the telematics device. When examined and evaluated, the data may provide detailed insights about your whole fleet.

Information Telematics systems

An automotive telematics solution fundamentally has four building blocks:

  • Network of Vehicle ECUs.

  • Inside the car, there is a network of interconnected automotive ECUs, which are miniature supercomputers. As previously stated, these ECUs assist the Telematics Unit in collecting vehicle data.

  • Unit Telematics(TMU).

  • This telematics unit serves as the vehicle's telematics device's heart. It communicates with the vehicle's CAN bus as well as the IoT cloud server. The telematics control unit captures vehicle data and sends it to the IoT cloud. Communication with the cloud server is established over a cellular, LTE, or GPRS network and may be accessed by IoT ecosystem-connected mobile or web apps.

    Remotes, dashboards, networks, gateways, analytics, data storage, and security are all part of the ecosystem.

    The TMU also handles the telematics devices' memory and battery. It also simplifies the data that is communicated with the driver via a gadget or dashboard.

  • Cloud IoT server.

  • The data collected by the telematics device is transmitted to the cloud-based telematics server over a highly secure GPRS or cellular network.

    The data is extracted and saved in databases for processing on the IoT cloud platform.

  • Applications for Telematics.

  • Authorized staff can access data from the cloud-based telematics server via a web, desktop, or mobile application connected to the IoT ecosystem. This information can also be supplied into a business intelligence system for additional analysis and reporting.

How to Benefit from Telematics

Telematics solutions may be integrated with leading fleet management software and other systems to enable a wide range of applications.

Asset tracking

Installing GPS trackers on trailers and other non-motorized assets allows you to always keep track of their whereabouts.

Whenever drivers detach from their trailers, they can use a GPS device to mark specific places.

In addition, you may program the system to notify you whenever a trailer departs from its designated location without your permission, reducing the risk of ghost assets (stolen and lost assets).

Safety tracking

Telematics systems can keep track of a truck’s speed and position, identify unsafe driving habits, and verify that the drivers are buckled up.

Your driver’s safety can be improved by reducing the number of accidents they are involved in.


Vehicle maintenance and asset life cycles may be managed with a telematics system.

The system can keep track hours-of-use records, vehicle used, engine hours, service records. Additionally, it can help you plan preventative maintenance and track warranty recovery.

Tracking engine diagnostics can help you keep track of maintenance costs and keep tabs on how well the vehicles are performing.

Vehicle tracking

Tracking your cars in real time is possible thanks to GPS satellites, GPRS networks, and the cloud.

History of Telematics

In the 1960s, the military created telematics, a technology that combines telecommunications with information processing to enhance communication on the battlefield.

Internet, GPS, and machine-to-machine communication are all examples of interdependent innovations that gave rise to modern technology.

In the early 2000s, where the internet and the number of telecommunications networks grew, so did the number of fleet management telematics application.

Today, the telematics market is a two-digit billion dollar industry and expected to grow even further. - Eriks Petersons

Article by

Eriks Petersons

Software Developer

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