Vehicle Location Tracking, Technology and Capabilities

March 10, 2020

Vehicle Location Tracking tracking technologies can be divided into two types:

The passive vehicle tracking system: In the past, the logistics industry mainly used passive tracking devices. However, data can be downloaded from them only after the vehicle returns to a predetermined point.

The active vehicle tracking system: This type of tracking system constantly determines locations and transfers information to the server, where it is processed. The dispatcher or a client can see where the transport is located in real-time, check the speed, and lots of other parameters described below.

Active Vehicle Tracking can use two different technologies :

Vehicle Location Tracking  by cell tower 

Location tracking works through the cell tower - this is a way to determine the location through triangulation using the nearest cell tower. Usually, it is used only inside the city where is good cellular coverage. This method can be useful for applications similar to UBER or a mobile application for delivering food and cargo within the city.

Among the shortcomings we can call the fact, if cellular communication is not available, for example, a person is in the parking spot, then the coordinate data may be incorrect. The advantage of this method is that it consumes less battery power of the device and does not need the satellite connection via GPS. Cellular tracking technologies have triangulation of cell towers in the basis.

Vehicle Location tracking through the triangulation of cell towers
Vehicle Location tracking through the triangulation of cell towers

Vehicle Location Tracking  by satellite

Satellite tracking works 24 hours regardless of location, can work in the city or a lifeless desert, or even in the ocean, we just need access to the satellite system.

Depending on the device, whether it is a simple smartphone, a GPS tracker for a vehicle, or a military unmanned vehicle, the GPS module device is connected to several satellites at the same time and calculates a location by simple geometric calculation.

The device using satellite communication will determine its location and using the GSM network will send data to the server from where users are and the dispatcher gets access to the data. If there is no access to the internet, the device adds all data to the memory and after gaining access, uploads everything to the server.

Smartphone satellite tracking

Most modern devices have a GPS module that allows you to determine your place on the map, finds the nearest coffee shops, or calculates the time spent at your destination.

This tracking method can be used everywhere, from taxi APP like UBER to applications for transport and logistics companies.

GPS module - tracker satellite vehicle monitoring system

This can be a small device that can be inserted into a vehicle or sensors with separate antennas for better data accuracy, in the form of electronic seals, or even can be connected to the car's OBD2 connectors and receive data from the on-board vehicle computer. These sensors will give us a lot of information, including tire pressure, a description of the breakdown, and engine errors.

Depending on the type of sensor that is installed on the vehicle, not only the coordinates of the vehicle but also many other data, for example, average speed, fuel level, fuel consumption, cargo safety, if it is a GPS seal on freight vehicles transmitted to the server via the internet.

This tracking method is best for the delivery vehicles and other goods over long distances, tracking the fleet and courier service, where the accuracy and consistency of the data are very important.

scheme of how working tracker satellite vehicle monitoring system
Scheme of satellite vehicle monitoring system

What active tracking will allow doing:


Active tracking will allow us to build a route, thanks to the functions of Google Maps (or other Maps), where we get the information about the condition of the roads, weather conditions, and traffic jams. This will allow you to calculate the optimal route, which will save money and expedite the delivery. Thus, logistics companies can build the proper route to increase delivery rates and speed.


The dispatchers and the user always have the opportunity to see where the transport or their cargo is located. Usually, there are 3 applications, one for the dispatchers, the other for the driver, and the third one for the client, whether it is a passenger ordering a taxi or a customer who is waiting for delivery via DHL.

Also, with the help of a simple AI, they can predict the time and date of cargo delivery, knowing the condition of the roads and the location of the driver.


Formerly, when there was no active tracking system, if there was an emergency with the vehicle, people had to call the dispatcher, explain the situation, and tell the approximate location. Now, using a small application you can report a breakdown and send a request to the dispatcher with various data, for example with a description of the problem. This will greatly accelerate the work of the transport company in responding to breakdowns on the roads or fleets and will allow you to calculate the optimal path to avoid loss of finances and reputation.


One of the interesting features that allow automating functions such as notification of arrival, notification of the speed of cargo delivery, etc. - is a geo-zone. You can determine if a taxi has arrived at the passenger’s location at a distance of fewer than 500 meters. It will automatically inform you that the car has arrived or for example, when the cargo arrives it informs the transport company. Thus, it is possible to automate many functions and coordinate the work of different departments.

For example, you send a large load with a metal constructions to another city, as soon as the truck enters the city, the dispatcher receives a notification, the notification will also automatically be sent to the brigade, that should bring the crane with the data on the approximate arrival time.

This can greatly help to save money by calculating how much it costs, for example, a crane, if it arrives too early or late.


Sensors such as GPS seal and GPS tracker will greatly help to keep transport and cargo safe.

For example, GPS seals are special seals that are installed on trucks and show not only the place on the map but also the safety and integrity of the seal.

Also, if someone stole your car, you can easily find its location. Such sensors are very popular with Car-Sharing services. 

GPS location sensor, smart lock for cargo container
GPS location sensor, smart lock for cargo container


If you know the location of the vehicle in real-time it makes it possible to calculate mileage, fuel consumption, and other functions that are useful for taxi fleets ( Learn more about how to develop a taxi app like Uber? Technology and cost ) . If you use the OBD2 adapter ( Learn more about OBD2 and ELM327 )with the function of tracking the transport, we can get more accurate fuel consumption, auto status, on-board computer diagnostics, evaluate fuel quality, and many other functions.

OBD II 4G LTE GPS Tracker, for Real-Time tracking
OBD Live GPS Tracker


Weather conditions are not what GPS provides, but knowing the locations together with different weather services, we can determine the weather conditions along the vehicle’s path and if necessary, change the route to optimize resources.


Another important advantage, especially on the roads for truckers, is the list of nearby hotels, workshops, and gas stations.

The application can determine the nearest object and collecting information from various sources, including reviews of other drivers, will figure out the best option.

As you can see, such a seemingly simple tracking vehicle can greatly help the security of your business, give you a chance to get more customers, retain existing ones and increase the satisfaction of your clients.

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