What is an Embedded Telematics System?
The term telematics was formed when combining the words “telecommunications” and “informatics”. It’s a process of sending information over large networks, wirelessly to improve business services. For more information check out our blog post on What is Car Telematics? Benefits, Features and Use Cases. Having telematics systems “embedded” ultimately means that live vehicle data from ECUs can be tracked, stored and sent in real-time to an end user.
Previously, telemetry (also known as a tachograph) for trucks used to be a physical piece of paper that recorded speed, distance and driving. The industry has changed a lot since then and digital devices now monitor the driving history of a vehicle within a fleet.
Now data such as tyre pressure, oil level, engine temperature, location data and fuel level can all be incorporated as part of an embedded data set. This data is accessible via an app created by the vehicle manufacturer, or another source, and has several advantages.
Benefits of Embedded Telematics Systems
- Safety - with emergencies, embedded telematics can alert drivers of dangers on the road. Ideal for reporting nearby incidents or when vehicle issues arise. This allows instant corrective action from the vehicle’s ADAS features or built-in communications to service centres. Nowadays the vehicle can contact local authorities or trigger police and breakdown assistance to come and help you at the side of the road using its onboard sim card and hands-free calling.
- Historical Records - Embedded Telematics Systems can store historical vehicle data to show trends, and anomalies and identify areas for improvement. This helps users understand their driving habits over time, and how they can improve. Helping to save on fuel and maintenance costs and improve overall driver safety - especially useful for businesses who operate a large fleet which can be a big portion of their budget.
- Corporate and Social Responsibility - if live data is being tracked and stored, businesses that have a fleet of vehicles can show this data to their investors. For example, changing their fleet to more efficient models including EVs, and educating drivers to idle less. Whilst at the same time enabling them to drive optimally and reduce fuel spending, ultimately helping budget reviews and spending reports.
- Regulatory Compliance for Employees and Contractors - With laws on driving hours, shift patterns and work schedules, it is more important than ever to conform to the local laws and not overwork staff. Embedded telematics systems allow for precise driver monitoring including length of journey, driving time, shift start and end time and more. All aiding in improving driver well-being and optimising working conditions for employees.
What Do Embedded Telematics Systems Look Like in a Vehicle?
Modern vehicles have dozens of Electronic Control Units (ECUs) sensing vehicle data. Embedded telematics systems use these data points and send them wirelessly using mobile data networks to display to an end user who is accessing the information remotely.
Sensors are necessary for today's vehicles to monitor temperatures, pressures, fuel levels, proximity and more. All this data needs to be analysed, and the ECU is the central core of this analysis. Telematics modules are essential for sending data over the air to an end user or business that needs to access it to see diagnostics data, schedule maintenance, book a job for the driver and more.
Using a Controller Area Network (or CAN-bus), the data is sent via the cloud in a secure protocol to protect sensitive data, and it is packaged in a way that allows it to be reliable and fast. The onboard CAN-bus network in the vehicle is read by the telematics control unit and sends data in real-time over the air to an application or web interface.
A telematics module is made up of the following:
- A GPS that monitors latitude and longitude data linked to satellites.
- Motion sensors include an accelerometer and gyroscope for changes in speed and direction, alongside a link to a host of sensors to monitor engine temperature.
- Bluetooth, WiFi, and 4G/5G data interface for wireless communication.
Embedded Telematics Systems - OEM vs Aftermarket
Over 80% of vehicles manufactured in 2024 will have embedded telematics installed. Therefore aftermarket systems are becoming less popular and could eventually be phased out altogether. Having embedded vehicle telematics provides a comprehensive fleet management solution without additional hardware to install or pay for. The vehicle can be instantly onboarded to activate the remote vehicle monitoring. A driver is also less likely to tamper with records if the telematics device is seamlessly integrated with the vehicle.
Having less capability than an OEM solution, aftermarket embedded telematics systems are still utilised today. They are ideal for older, less connected vehicles that need to be monitored as part of a fleet. But their running costs and installation times are inconvenient for fleet managers.
Aftermarket telematics devices do not have the full scope of vehicle data when compared to OEM embedded systems. This is because security is weaker on these systems. With the advancement of “over the air” updates in modern vehicles, aftermarket systems may need to be removed and updated manually by a trained professional as soon as an update is released.
Integration with Fleet Management Software
At High Mobility, our API provides the link between vehicle data and fleet managers' end applications. We are trusted by many automotive brands with our secure data mode. Allowing businesses to incorporate all fleet vehicles into one custom interface that works best with your fleet management software solution.
Integrating embedded telematics into a bespoke solution improves fleet managers' visibility. Knowing where their vehicles are in real-time gives them an overview of vehicle health, and route optimisations and reduces costs. Fleet management software also incorporates work schedules, deliveries, invoicing and data storage to provide a complete solution for a business that relies heavily on its fleet.
Trends and Future Outlook on Embedded Telematics Systems
As we see the advancement in AI (Artificial Intelligence) and IoT (Internet of Things), it is now possible to integrate these into embedded telematics systems in vehicles. With AI, vehicle data provided by telematics systems can be analysed to understand more about driving habits, location trends, and vehicle behaviour. This gives a deeper insight into reducing costs for a business. IoT technology allows for communication with a local infrastructure to improve traffic flow, automate tasks such as garage door openings and delivery location alerts, and offer a wider range of vehicle data for AI to analyse. Examples include tire pressures, engine loads, fuel usage and idle time.
Combining more solutions such as dashcams, fuel cards and toll systems as part of an embedded telematics solution means that a single app or web interface can be used for the entire business. Saving a lot of back-end work to link up this data manually.
Fleet managers can use AI, IoT and other solutions to enhance their operations. Keeping up to date with the development of these systems will benefit businesses that manage a fleet. Especially when onboarding their vehicles for the first time. As a wide range of data is accessible when you partner with High Mobility and use our advanced API. Take a look at our data items to get a full picture of what’s possible with your business. You might be surprised by how far ahead you can be with your fleet management solution.