What Is Telematics?

Telematics is a technology for monitoring vehicle data individually or on a fleet basis and sending it to a central location for analysis. Data collected include GPS location, engine diagnostics, driver behavior, and other vehicle activity. This information can be aggregated and analyzed to deliver vehicle owners’ and fleet operators’ insights to optimize how drivers operate their vehicles.

Benefits of Telematics

There are numerous benefits of telematics, many regarding improving the efficiency of vehicle service. For example, real-time GPS tracking can provide live trip reporting, optimized routing, and locating a stolen vehicle. The outputs from a range of in-car ADAS sensors can prompt greater driving safety, reduce risk, and report errant behavior—including accident reconstruction data—back to central systems.

When telematics is combined with data analytics, fleet operators and automakers can enable remote diagnostics, predictive maintenance, and track aggregate energy use. This information can also be harnessed for compliance while improving carbon emissions and environmental impact. Fleet electric vehicle charging routines can be optimized.

Telematics has an increasingly important role in insurance, with “black box policies” enabling cheaper premiums in exchange for data proving safe driving, particularly for young or new drivers. As more data becomes available through telematics systems, insurance risk ratings and vehicle taxes could be based on the information delivered.

Examples of Telematics Data

A telematics system will receive data from many vehicle systems, including:

  • Location from the satnav GPS
  • Vehicle speed from the speedometer
  • Extreme acceleration, braking, and cornering information from G-force sensors
  • Trip information
  • Live energy consumption
  • Vehicle status, including faults such as low tire pressure
  • Remaining fuel for internal combustion and battery level for electric vehicles
  • Occupant status, such as seat belt usage
  • Video from on-vehicle cameras
  • Radar, LiDAR, and ultrasonics data

The three main sources of telematics are GPS, vehicle sensors, and drivetrain diagnostics.

How Telematics Works

Telematics is a portmanteau word formed from telecommunication and informatics, blending remote data exchange with digital information gathering and analysis. Since vehicle systems are increasingly networked, data from sensors and other automotive sources can be collected and transmitted to remote systems. Communications conduits within vehicles, such as CAN, LIN, FlexRay and Ethernet, bring data into a central repository where it can be sent to the automaker or fleet operator’s servers.

Data delivery can be via a device plugged into the OBD II or CAN-BUS port or built directly into the vehicle’s architecture. The ubiquity and speed of mobile data networks have facilitated remote telematics transmission, with 4G and 5G providing ample bandwidth. With 5G, extremely low latency is possible as well. However, the collection of data is only half of the process. The data must be stored securely on the aggregation server in accordance with prevailing privacy regulations for the region. Collected data can be sent to the cloud through a connected vehicle platform like BlackBerry IVY®.

Analytics techniques, including AI and Machine Learning, can be applied to deliver insights. The insights from the data can be fed into fleet optimization plans and even improvement of vehicle software. Data analytics can provide a fleet safety score, optimize routing for time or energy efficiency, track infringements such as drivers with the most speeding tickets, and pinpoint which vehicles are due for maintenance.

Telematics vs. GPS Tracking

Telematics started with GPS tracking but has added data from many more sources than the vehicle’s location, speed, and direction. Alongside this additional information, telematics can deliver more useful insights. Geofencing can create alerts when a vehicle leaves a given area, which is helpful for security. It can provide details during an incident revealing if the driver was at fault. It can help improve efficiency and reduce the need for physical inspection to confirm the need for maintenance. The system can work both ways, with vehicles receiving job dispatch and messaging from the central data location. 
The BlackBerry IVY® platform leverages BlackBerry® QNX®, edge computing, and the cloud to support a future-proof digital ecosystem. It gives developers and automakers a secure, reliable way to share vehicle data, deliver new features and functionality, and fuel both present and future innovation. Backed by BlackBerry expertise, it’s compatible with most OS and cloud platforms, offering advanced personalization and access to our broad development community. 

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