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What is Vehicle Tracking?

By Garry Crystal
Updated May 16, 2024
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One of the biggest technological advancements in vehicle security has been the advent of the vehicle tracking system. Vehicle tracking systems use satellite or radio positioning in order to locate a vehicle after it has been stolen. Vehicle tracking systems are becoming increasingly popular for people who own expensive or executive cars.

The system is usually fitted to the vehicle covertly. This means that it cannot be seen and there are no signs to suggest that the vehicle has a tracking system in place. Because the vehicle tracking system is hidden from view, a thief may be less confident when trying to steal the vehicle, as he is unsure whether there is a system fitted or not.

If the car is stolen, the vehicle tracking system will send out a signal that only the police can trace. There are some sophisticated systems that are able to detect unauthorized movement of your car. Such systems alert the owner of the car that it is in the process of being stolen.

Vehicles fitted with a satellite Global Positioning System (GPS) can pinpoint the exact location of the vehicle and send information to the police. Police departments also have equipment in place to track vehicles with GPS systems fitted. Software is used to plot the actual position of the vehicle on maps.

The basic components used in GPS vehicle tracking are a mobile GPS unit, a communications network and geographic maps. GPS vehicle tracking systems are simple to install. The GPS receiver and cellular modem are fitted to the vehicle, a magnet is placed on the underside of the bumper cover, and a magnetic cellular antenna fits onto the vehicle’s frame.

Power for the GPS is supplied directly from the vehicle’s battery or by a replaceable battery pack. The monitoring system can be accessed via a personal home computer using specialized software. The location of the vehicle is displayed on a map showing movement as it happens. Information can include the vehicle's current location, its route history, the date, and the speed and time of direction.

There is also a vehicle tracking system available called Passive GPS. Passive GPS is used by individuals or organizations that wish to track a person’s whereabouts during a specified amount of time. The locations a vehicle has been to can be downloaded after the vehicle has returned home. Passive GPS is particularly useful for delivery and courier companies. Vehicle tracking systems may seem expensive at the time of purchase, but they may well pay for themselves not too long after they are fitted.

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Discussion Comments
By Jack1234 — On May 16, 2012

The vehicle tracking system GoTrack helps parents monitor teen drivers by using GPS vehicle tracking and the internet.

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