Fleet Management Glossary


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  • Accelerometer

The accelerometer is where much of the rich vehicle data comes from. It’s the electromechanical part of telematics device that tells the position (up/down, left/right, etc.) of the vehicle.

  • Acceleration

A vehicle’s ability to gain or increase in speed.

  • Active Sensor

A sensing device that requires an external source of power to operate.

  • Active Tracking

Using increased data logging frequency, Active Tracking is good for industries that need precise and immediate vehicle location, such as in emergency/medical services

  • Aggressive Driving

This is a type of high-risk driving behavior that can be tracked by a telematics device. Aggressive driving includes speeding, which has its obvious risks; harsh braking, which can indicate the driver was following too closely or distracted; hard acceleration, which reduces chance of reacting on time, not to mention isn’t fuel efficient; and hard cornering, which can also indicate distracted driving or even drowsy driving.

  • Asset Tracking

Beyond the vehicle, companies have many other types of assets, such as heavy machinery, equipment, tools, etc. All of these can be tracked just like a vehicle.

  • Auto Integrations

The ability to embed apps and use sensor technology within a vehicle, e.g. Apples CarPlay, MirrorLink, Renaults Rlink and Android Auto.

  • Autonomous Vehicles

With several “levels” of autonomous technology, the highest level is self-driving cars, trucks, buses and all. Using sensors, cameras, and telematics data in order to detect other cars and conditions around the vehicle, autonomous vehicle technology allows the vehicle to go without an operator.

  • Big Data

Big Data is all the information collectively which can be captured, not just of your fleet vehicles but other systems the data can be integrated with (such as smart traffic signals as just one example).

  • Black Box

A small device fitted to a vehicle, which transmits driving behavior data to the insurer.

  • CAN Bus

A message-based, multi-master serial protocol for transmitting and receiving vehicle data within a Controller Area Network (CAN). Sometimes written as “CANbus,” the CAN Bus connects multiple Electronic Control Units (ECUs) also known as nodes.

  • Connected Vehicles

Vehicle-to-vehicle communication and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication are what make a connected vehicle. Connected vehicles is also largely part of how autonomous vehicle (self-driving car) technology is made possible.

  • Cyber security

With any type of data being transmitted, there is always the need for cyber security. The FBI, NHTSA, and NAFA have all expressed the need for greater awareness and action on cyber security with regard to connected vehicles.

  • Close platform

A closed platform may have vehicle manufacturer specific hardware where it can access to data is limited or filtered.

  • Data Center

A collective term for the physical site, network elements, systems, etc., that supports computing and network services.

  • Data Privacy

Strong data governance in telematics is essential in order to protecte the privacy of personal and vehicle data. The issue of data privacy is also linked to the current conversation in the transportation industry over who “owns” the data coming from your vehicle.

  • Data Visualization ( dashboards, etc )

Data Visualization is what brings the data coming from the telematics device into an understandable “dashboard” on the computer.

  • ECO Driving

Driving in such a way as to minimize fuel consumption and the emission of carbon dioxide.

  • ECU

Electronic Control Unit. An Electronic Control Unit is a device, such as a sensor or actuator, that is connected to other devices via a CAN Bus. A vehicle can contain dozens of ECUs for functions such as mirror adjustment, window power, airbags, cruise control, entertainment, and, most significantly, engine control. To form a CAN, two or more ECUs are needed.

  • Electric Vehicles

There are several types of electric vehicles, with the most common being hybrid electric vehicles that do not require getting plugged in. These vehicles, such as Toyota Prius, still run on gas but use technology such as regenerative braking to help make that fuel tank last a little longer.

  • Electronic Logging Device ( ELD )

An electronic logging device, also called an ELD, is technology for drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) to automatically record driving time and Hours of service (HOS) records and capture data on the vehicle’s engine, movement, and miles driven.

  • Engine Diagnostics

Engine status data for all major engine protocols, such as rpm, voltage, fuel usage, coolant temperature, as well as fluid levels, can be communicated through the telematics device, which plugs into the OBD II port.

  • Engine Hours

Engine Hours are different from what is tracked by the odometer, which is actual miles driven. The odometer does not include time idling at a stop light, for example, whereas Engine Hours tells you the actual hours an engine has run.

  • Firmware

Programming that is written to the read-only memory (ROM) of a computing device. Firmware, which is added at the time of manufacturing, is used to run user programs on the device.

  • Fleet

A number of vehicles operating together or under the same ownership.

  • Fuel Usage

This measurement is how much fuel is consumed by vehicle. This information can also be seen for the entire fleet.

  • Geo-fencing

Geo-fencing allows managers to create zones of various types such as an office or customer location. For example, if a certain vehicle should not leave a particular jobsite, a fleet manager could set up a geo-fence for that vehicle around the area it should stay.

  • GPS Fleet Tracking

GPS Fleet Tracking is what tracks the location of the vehicle. For telematics, GPS tracking includes much more than “dots on a map” but tracks driver behavior and vehicle health.

  • Glonass

Russian positional satellites akin to GPS to provide accurate positioning of devices.

  • GPRS

Mobile data service on 2G and 3G mobile systems.

  • GPS

A satellite navigation system that provides location and time information.

  • GSM

An open, digital technology that is used for transmitting mobile voice and data services.

  • Green Fleet

“Green Fleet” is a term used to reference fleets with sustainability initiatives and are on a mission to reduce greenhouse gas emissions also these fleets typically use telematics to aid their efforts, such as reducing idling, better tracking emissions fault codes, figuring which applications would be good for alternative fuels, and more.

  • Hours of Service ( HOS )

Hours of Service (HOS) are the regulations in the commercial vehicle industry, namely for over-the-road fleets but it does cover many commercial vehicle drivers, that govern how many hours drivers can drive and when they must take breaks.

  • Internet of Things ( IoT )

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the trend toward “smart” products, from smart products in your home such as refrigerators and lights, to products used in transportation such as smart traffic signals that can modify signal timing based off traffic flows throughout the day.

  • Insurance Telematics

Vehicular tracking devices used by automobile insurance companies to alter rates based on driver behavior. Currently, Progressive (Snapshot), Allstate, and others typically track braking and mileage. An excessive number of hard-brakes may indicate risky driving habits.

  • Intelligent Transportation System ( ITS )

The application of advanced information and communications technology to surface transportation for enhanced safety and mobility while reducing environmental impacts.

  • Installation

The process or action of installing a device or program, such as a Black Box or Smartphone telematics app.

  • M2M ( Machine to Machine )

Technologies that allow both wireless and wired systems to communication with other devices of the same type.

  • Nearest Vehicle

Using telematics, fleets can improve dispatching by seeing on a map the nearest vehicle to a particular location. For example, maybe a service fleet gets an emergency call. Instead of bothering each mobile worker to see if they can respond to the job and exactly where they are, a dispatcher can easily see which vehicle and worker is closest to the job and dispatch and route them straight from where they are.

  • NFC

Near Field Communication.

  • OBD II

On-board diagnostics port (OBD-II) is what allows aftermarket devices, to tap into the engine control module (ECM), which is essentially the brain of the vehicle. This is how, for example, Dolphin device is able to send alerts about vehicle diagnostic trouble codes or that a driver is speeding.

  • Odometer

The odometer in a vehicle are the actual miles driven. This is not to be confused with a vehicle’s actual engine hours.

  • Open Platform

Open platform means a telematics system, which provides open or free access to the data through a software development kit (SDK), and application programming interfaces (APIs). Open platform users have flexibility for integrating telematics with their other business systems, and using partner vendor devices, or third-party applications and solutions.

  • Preventive Maintenance

Preventive maintenance which is the scheduled maintenance to regularly check a vehicle for potential problems. Getting the oil changed is just one part of a preventive maintenance check. Other tasks include checking all fluid levels, brakes, tires, and so on.

  • Remote Diagnostics

Remote diagnostics through telematics provides alerts on diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) that are generated by the engine’s computer. DTCs in modern engine technology are the engine’s way of tracking issues, from low voltage to low fluids and so on.

  • Remote Monitoring and Control

The increasingly automated monitoring and control of devices, technologies, or processes. Wireless devices which send information gathered directly to control centers are often used to achieve this.

  • Smart Car

An automobile that uses technology to support the driver and create a safer traffic environment. Different systems (inside and outside of the car) are connected and communicate with each other in order to allow intelligent intervention in dangerous situations and more fluid traffic.

  • Scorecards

A scorecard can be used for drivers so it to help management and drivers get a gauge on their driving habits. Many drivers are unaware of sloppy or unsafe driving habits, so using driver scorecards have been shown to improve these driving behaviors.

  • Telematics

Telematics is the monitoring of a car, truck or another type of equipment or asset with a device that collects GPS location, vehicle speed, driving behavior, and other engine data to record movements on a map.

  • Trips

Vehicle trips from point A to point B can be tracked by telematics and viewed from a fleet management software portal or app. In Dolphin App and web-based software, a trip is defined when the vehicle starts moving to when the vehicle starts moving again after a stop.

  • Usage-Based Insurance ( UBI )

Also called Pay as You Drive (PAYD), UBI bases the insurance rate on pre-defined variables including distance, behavior, time, and place. The data gathering and telematics can be provided by a “black box” in the vehicle, a dongle-type device, or even a smartphone.

  • Vehicle Identification Number ( VIN )

The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) assigned to every vehicle is what tracks the vehicle throughout its life, no matter who owns it.

  • Vehicle-to-Infrastructure ( V2I )

The communication of smart cars and commercial vehicles with surrounding sensors, such as signal phase and timing (SPaT) information.

  • Vehicle-to-Vehicle ( V2V )

Using a region of the 5.9 GHz band, V2V systems allow vehicles in order to communicate with each other and with roadside stations. Networks of vehicles can help avoid congestion also find better routes, and aid law enforcement.

  • Zones

Creating a zone is a key functionality in telematics software which allows fleet managers to track metrics on productivity.