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Differentiating between Automatic Vehicle Location and Events Activated Tracking Systems

It might be helpful to draw a distinction between vehicle location systems which track automatically and vehicle location systems which track when triggered by an event. There is increasingly crossover between the different systems and those with experience of this sector will be able to draw on a number of examples which break the rule.


A.V.L (Automatic Vehicle Location) This type of vehicle tracking is normally used in the fleet or driver management sector. The unit is configured to automatically transmit it’s location at a set time interval, e.g. every 5 minutes. The unit is activated when the ignition is switched on/off.


E.A.T.S (Events Activated Tracking system) This type of system is primarily used in connection with vehicle or driver security solutions. If, for example a thief breaks into your car and attempts to steal it, the tracking system can be triggered by the immobiliser unit or motion sensor being activated. A monitoring bureau, will then be automatically notified that the unit has been activated and begin tracking the vehicle.


Some products on the market are a hybrid of both AVL and EATS technology. However industry practice has tended to lean towards a separation of these functions. It is worth taking note that vehicle tracking products tend to fall in to one, not both of the technologies.


AVL technology is predominately used when applying vehicle tracking to fleet or driver management solutions. The use of Automatic Vehicle Location is given in the following scenario; A car breaks down by the side of the road and the occupant calls a vehicle recovery company. The vehicle recovery company has several vehicles operating in the area. Without needing to call each driver to check his location the dispatcher can pinpoint the nearest recovery vehicle and assign it to the new job. If you were to incorporate the other aspects of vehicle telematics into this scenario; the dispatcher, rather than phoning the recovery vehicle operative, could transmit the job details directly to the operative’s mobile data device, who would then use the in-vehicle satellite navigation to aid his journey to the job.


EATS technology is predominately used when applying vehicle tracking to vehicle security solutions. An example of this distinction is given in the following scenario; A construction company owns some pieces of plant machinery that are regularly left unattended, at weekends, on building sites. Thieves break onto one site and a piece equipment, such as a digger, is loaded on the back of a flat bed truck and then driven away. Typically the ignition wouldn’t need to be turned on and as such most of the AVL products available wouldn’t typically be activated. Only products that included a unit that was activated by a motion sensor or GeoFence alarm event, would be activated.


Both AVL and EATS systems track, but often for different purposes.

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