GPS, GPRS & GSM combined, using 50 GPS Satellite Channels to give accurate position of the vehicle
Star Tracker's solutions are built around hardware and software components that leverage commercial robust wireless data networks and the Internet for location determination, wireless data transmission, data access, display and management. This allows customers to benefit from open and affordable technologies to easily access Star Tracker's advanced solutions.
One of the key components of our solution is an AVL (Automatic Vehicle Location) Unit placed in each mobile asset that needs to be managed. The AVL unit (or tracking unit as it is commonly known) uses signals from GPS satellites to compute the location of the vehicle. It may also gather and integrate other pertinent data such as engine and vehicle performance, ignition, braking, operating hours, and end user data from and to add-on devices such as PDAs. It periodically communicates with Star Tracker's network operations center (NOC) using the wireless technology supported by the unit to send and receive the gathered information and commands from the NOC. The Star Tracker Web-To-Wireless Gateway (Interface) at the NOC provides an integrated, consistent and ubiquitous interface for fleet management, trailer management, non-powered asset management and other solutions, to the end user at the Interface website. Further, the gateway provides a consistent interface to all devices deployed across these solutions irrespective of the wireless data technology employed – GPRS, SMS, satellite, etc.
Some of the key elements of our technology solution are:
GPS (Global Positioning System) consists of a constellation of 50 satellites (numbers increasing day by day) orbiting the earth. The GPS system is owned and operated by the US Department of Defense. These satellite orbits are selected in such a way that any location on earth will have, at the minimum, four satellites visible to it. GPS Satellites produce precisely timed and coordinated transmissions. A GPS receiver located anywhere on earth can listen into these transmissions and compute its own position.
Star Tracker's AVL units have highly sensitive GPS receivers that can tune into 12 or more GPS satellites simultaneously. Due to their enhanced sensitivity, these receivers can obtain a GPS lock (in other words, compute their position) in many situations where clear visibility to the sky is somewhat obstructed. The GPS receiver computes the location, speed and direction of the mobile asset every second. Star Tracker's AVL units contain advanced algorithms to compute the distance traveled (mileage) by the asset using the GPS receiver data. Our mileage computation algorithms are finely tuned to handle many GPS anomalies such as 'drift and bounce' and produce dependable, long-term mileage data that has less than 1% error in most situations. In addition, Star Tracker AVL units can detect whether the GPS receiver has good antenna connection (antenna open/short) and has good satellite visibility, and report these problems back to the Gateway so that field level problems can be identified and resolved quickly.
Vehicle Data Acquisition
In addition to reporting the position of the mobile asset based on GPS information, our AVL units can control and report on the status of a variety of sensors and intelligent peripherals attached to the unit. Information such as acceleration, braking, fuel usage, temperature, etc. can be reported along with GPS data. The focus of our hardware design is on creating an extensible and modular platform for telematics. Many peripherals can be attached to the Star Tracker AVL unit to enhance its functionality and meet the unique requirements of an application. A basic Star Tracker AVL unit can integrate information from various peripheral units and act as a hub for wireless data exchange between the mobile asset and the Gateway.
The AVL units employ event-driven exception-based reporting mechanisms, such as stopped, moving, ignition, time of day, time interval expired, etc. Thus they relay only relevant field information and prevent significant data transmission overheads. Optimizations such as this allow us to offer solutions at significantly lower costs to our customers than our competitor's.
Wireless Data Transmission
Wireless technology is constantly evolving. It is also a fact that different wireless data technologies are appropriate for different applications and geographical locations - no one technology generally fits all needs. With this in mind, Star Tracker follows a flexible and modular approach using the wireless data transmission technology best suited for your application. Our approach leverages open and established, commercial wireless networks to keep customer's operational costs low, while ensuring that emerging wireless standards can be easily incorporated into the solution with minimal upgrade costs. As an example, our quad band GPRS and SMS devices can seamlessly switch between multiple carrier networks which ensures maximum coverage, and can also operate seamlessly on all four frequencies used for GSM transmission worldwide. The modular approach ensures that other terrestrial and/or satellite data transmission schemes can be incorporated, if the need arises. Optional interfaces to different satellite modems (Inmarsat, Iridium, Orbcomm) can be created for demanding applications with unique coverage requirements.
Our Intelligent Coverage Sensing™ (ICS) algorithms ensure robust data transmission even in poor coverage areas. Our devices incorporate advanced data buffering techniques and can store significant amounts of data if the device goes into areas where there is no wireless coverage. The stored data is transmitted as soon as good coverage is obtained.
Star Tracker Web-To-Wireless Gateway (Interface)
Organizations have a mix of mobile assets - trucks and trailers; powered and non-powered; mobile assets that operate in metropolitan areas only and those that operate regionally or nationally. Some require simple position reports only while others require complex information management.
Our Web-To-Wireless Gateway is designed to integrate a broad array of wireless data technologies, and reporting and management schemes required by different applications involving these mobile assets. It uses a layered and modular architecture which is easily enhanced to incorporate new and complementary wireless data networks (satellite and terrestrial, CDMA 1xRTT and GSM GPRS, etc.).
Irrespective of the underlying hardware and technology used for wireless data interfaces, Star Tracker's Interface website always presents a consistent and integrated interface to information pertaining to all of your organization's mobile assets. Using this single interface, you can manage a large variety of mobile assets spread over many different geographies, whether you are a small fleet operator operating at one location, or a large organization with a complex mobile asset portfolio.
The Interface website is accessible over the Internet using a web browser. The website is managed at our network operations center (NOC) - which consists of Tier-1 carrier grade facilities, with secure access, redundant power and ISP connectivity, and provides a high availability (24 x 7 x 365) solution to our customers.
The Interface website provides an easy to manage central dashboard for managing information about your fleet. The most recent position updates from every vehicle in the fleet is immediately available on a high resolution map and tabular display. You can drill down deeper and find out the history and movement patterns of any given vehicle. The last 90 days of Position data is kept online for immediate access. History beyond this period is archived and is available offline, if there is a need.
Interface provides many reports that make fleet management easy. Using these reports, you can analyze how your vehicles are being used, prepare driver payroll, get information about miles traveled in each state, and many perform many other fleet management tasks. Reports can be scheduled to run at specified intervals (every day, week, etc. ) and can be set up to be e-mailed to designated personnel.
Interface can also be set up to provide immediate alerts (via e-mail, text messaging, etc. ) when abnormal conditions occur (excessive speeding, usage outside normal times, entry/exit from/to designated areas, etc. ). Using Interface, maintenance schedules can be set up so that you get alerted when specific maintenance triggers occur (every x miles, y hours of usage, etc.).
Star Tracker (Mobi -Fleet location on the MOVE!)
Critical Interface data related to latest vehicle positions and recent movements can be accessed from a Smartphone using the Star Tracker.mobi mobile phone portal. This enables fleet managers who are on the move or field supervisors who may not have a laptop to be completely in touch with their fleet at all times. We currently support iPhone®, Blackberry® and Windows Mobile® based Smartphones. Contact Star Tracker if you are using a different Smartphone.
Custom Solutions and Integration Services
If you have a unique hardware or software integration need, Star Tracker may be able to help you. Our software services can be used as stand alone solutions or integrated into specialized software for maintenance, supply chain, dispatching, driver performance, electronic driver log, load management, service delivery and other similar applications. Star Tracker provides integration services and tailored fleet management solutions for large organizations that require extensive integration with their operations and have specific needs. Please contact us for further information.