Automatic vehicle location also known as AVL is a technology used by fleet management companies to locate all vehicles that are out driving. It may be those on different errands like transportation of cargo, passenger transportation or any other job. The AVL system has been a success in many companies that understand its meaning and use. Most passenger transit vehicles use an AVL system together with an automatic passenger counter (APC) to be in total control of their vehicles. The good thing is that it can be used on as many vehicles as needed.
So, if you are wondering how this technology works, then this publication is the right answer for you. It will cover the detailed implementation of an AVL system so that you may understand it well. One thing worth mentioning is that total success relies on how well this technology will be managed. The only way for this technology to be well managed is by employing a reputable fleet management company to do this.
The Components of an AVL
For this technology to work efficiently, a couple of components are integrated together by the experts. As the fleet owner or manager, an understanding of each component is a good starting point. Basically, two main components are integrated together, and we will cover them here.
- GPS – just to refresh your memory, a GPS (global positioning system) is navigation technology based on locations identified by satellites. A few decades ago, getting access to the GPS services was a big deal only available to the military. However, more GPS satellites from different countries have released their information, which can be accessed with ease.
When used by fleet owners and managers, GPS devices connect to the satellites and report where the GPS devices are at any one time. The beauty of using a GPS as opposed to cellular networks to locate vehicles is that GPS has coverage without the limitations.
- End-user platform – the GPS sends a signal to the satellite, which in turn sends that signal to an assigned end-user platform. The platform will differ in many ways depending on how the software is programmed. The user-friendliness of the platform matters a lot.
Most people like this software to be as simple as possible yet contain all the necessary information that they want. This calls for elaborate research before settling on the best software. The good thing is that the market is flooded with numerous options for people to choose from.
The Uses of AVL
Basically, the technology is used to locate the real-time location of the buses or any other vehicles for fleet management companies. This means that your platform should be in constant communication with the GPS via the satellite. As long as your GPS is powered, then your system should work perfectly. You do not have to keep the vehicle on for it to work because the GPS draws its power from the vehicle battery. The GPS will only turn off if the battery is disconnected. However, sophisticated models will keep the system powered by a separate battery.
An AVL system is more than a tracking tool for fleet management companies. Owners and managers can also find other data stored in the database. For example, they can find where a specific vehicle was at a past time. This information can be recalled when there is a case or a discrepancy that needs to be resolved.
In addition to helping the fleet companies, the public can also know where the bus or train is if they are waiting at a station or even while on board. For this to work, they need to access a special online platform with this information. The transit company usually provides this information right on their website for all people to access and check.
The Cost of AVL Implementation
The cost varies depending on the number of vehicles the company needs to manage. It also depends on the source of the software and its features, especially the features of the end-user platform. The maintenance cost may also apply as well as the software update cost on an annual basis. However, those who have used an AVL system may claim that the initial cost may be relatively high, but it is cheap if you consider the cost over the long run.
For any fleet management company owner, embracing this technology is not optional but rather a must. Most fleet drivers would be keen not to drive a vehicle without an AVL system; it is a safety measure for them and any passengers they have on board. With this information, you already know how to implement the technology and its benefits.