A Vehicle Tracking System Computer Science Essay

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A taxi company, A2B Cars going to start there service in a local area. The company needs to install a vehicle tracking system. It also needs to implement a highly secured communication system. To operate the fleet management system, a central control room is essential. A LAN network system will be installed for in house use for the central control room. A security system will be established for the security reasons.

Task 1:

The vehicle tracking system is nothing but a set of electronic device which is installed in a vehicle to enable a third party or the owner to track its location. Most of the case, these vehicle tracking systems are using the global positioning system (GPS) modules to get the accurate location of the vehicle. There are some other tracking systems which have a combinations of cellular and satellite transmitter components to communicate the vehicle's location to the user.

I have investigated a number of vehicle tracking systems and found that the AVL (Automatic Vehicle Location) will be the best solution for A2B Cars. The following scenario will explain why A2B Cars should use Automatic Vehicle Location.

A passenger needs a car from a specific location to go home or some where else. He called A2B Cars for a taxi. The A2B Cars has several cars operating in the area. By using the system, the A2B Cars does not need to call each driver to check his location. They can easily pinpoint the nearest taxi and assign her or him the new job.

To manage services vehicles, emergency vehicles, public vehicles and any kinds of fleet vehicles, Automatic Vehicle Location is a very powerful and well known concept. Usually, AVL system use one of the following types of navigation technology. Sometimes, we see, there is a combination of two navigation technologies to make the system cheaper. The major technologies that employed for AVL system are as follows:

GPS (Global Positioning System)

Signpost and Odometer

Radio Navigation/Location


The most AVL consists of two parts, GSM and GPS modem with AVL software and microcontroller. On the other hand, the most AVL systems are fixed for its purpose unless it's set up to do some extra tasks. The Global Positioning System or GPS equipment provides more accurate and reliable location and the cost is really lower than any other systems. GPS does not require the user to install an entire system and the signals are impervious to most electrical noise sources. To collect signals from the satellite segment, only one receiver is required to be installed in each vehicle and there has to be a radio to communicate the location data with the control centre. Data is sent from GPS receiver which is installed in the vehicle to the control centre over their user-owned-private radio backbone within the AVL system. The reasonable cost and accuracy of GPS make it the most demandable options but it also has some disadvantages. High rise building, foliage and tunnels can block the satellite signal. So it is not possible to get the location information using GPS in this situation. Some companies use dead reckoning system in combination with GPS to cover this gap.

Before the GPS system was introduced, the Signpost/ Odometer System was the most common navigation technology. A receiver is mounted on the vehicle in this system and the transmitters are placed on the vehicle route. Signpost and utility post are most commonly used for these transmitters as mounting location. The vehicle picks up a very low power signal from any of the transmitters while passing by them. As soon as the vehicle reports its location, the total distance from the last pole is used to get the vehicle position. The system can be used as reversed position, that means the transmitters in the vehicles and the receivers mounted along the route. On the other hand, if the vehicle leaves the fixed route, there will not be any information about the vehicle and its position. As, we see this is an old technology, it has some disadvantages. Moreover, this is very expensive.

Most of the time, the Radio Navigation/ Location System is combined with other system. Usually, the system uses a very low frequency signal to cover the system and the vehicle is located as it receives the signal. It sounds very simple and easy but the main problem is, the power substations can cause signal interference and the canyons and the signal reception is very poor.

Very few companies use Dead Reckoning System and some companies use the combination of dead reckoning and GPS system. It navigates the vehicle position by measuring the distance passed from a known position and direction of travel. It can measure the distance and direction from a fixed point. Most of the time, this kind of system is used as a back up of another AVL system. This is a very expensive system and there are also so many disadvantages of the system hills and uneven surface can effect the positioning information. If the vehicle goes more advanced from the fixed route, it will not be possible to locate the vehicle. The more distance the vehicle travels, the position information becomes less accurate.

There are two most common methods for data transmission from the vehicle to the control centre. The first one is polling and the second one is exception reporting via wireless communication. Many companies use the combination of both of them. It's become cheaper when the combination is made. Separate using is also available. The computer at control centre polls each vehicle, in turn, asking for the location, in the polling system. Then the vehicle location is transmitted to the control centre by a radio. Once the polling of all the vehicles has been done, the computer itself starts again with the first vehicle and repeats the cycle. If the number of vehicles increases, the amount of time will also increase to complete the cycle. Because, the time to complete the polling cycle always depends on the number of radio channels. On the other hand, each vehicle reports its location to the control centre at only a few specified locations or the vehicle is running off schedule beyond selected tolerances. The exception reporting system makes more efficient use of available radio channels.

The AVL tracking system is reliable because it provides very accurate data. The AVL system with GPS receiver, odometer interface and wireless access has the advantage that the calculation of the distances between two points of the way can be done easily with the help of GPS receiver or odometer signal. If the full stops are recorded, it will not be a problem at all because the total distance between two points will be very accurate. The AVL system was designed with high identification accuracy. It was designed to manage vehicles gated communities and parking area. Automatic vehicle location is easy in-and-out access for drivers and also allows accurate vehicle tracking at the same time. Some AVL use one kind of special tags attached to the vehicle's windshields and the tag's readers are installed on fixed overhead to enable vehicle managements to be more efficient and safe. This system delivers precise vehicle movements in real time. It also enables its user to get more accurate and maximize boosts productivity as well as vehicle and engineer utilization. The system not only provides real time information but also a historical format with detailed report and map. As a result, the user has nothing to doubt about the information.

The Automatic Vehicle Location is used not only to locate the vehicles but also to get information about fuel consumption, engine data, sensor data and driver data such as doors, air pressure or freezer room on trucks. Moreover, the AVL system will also provide the route which the vehicle had gone through at any previous time. It will also provide the speed of the vehicle at each update time. It is also able to show the total distance has been traveled by the vehicle between two selected times. Further more, it is also able to provide about the engine information such as the time, date and location at which the engine turns on and off. At the same time it can send the condition of the engine. It is possible to know that the engine of the vehicle is on or off at any time. If any events happen, it can be transferred at any time from any distance. If the driver presses the panic button, it sends the alert message to the center at once. From the center, it is possible to see the time and duration at which the vehicle stayed in a certain location. In addition, any misuse by the driver such as, over speeding, driving with low oil pressure, taking bad roads, ignoring any kinds of alerts can be spotted immediately by the system.

The vehicle which is equipped with GPS signal receiver that receives signals from satellites does not have to pay any money. But data transmission from the vehicle to control centre is not free. There is a cost for wireless carrier. Actually it depends on how wireless carriers charge the AVL vendors. This is similar to the cost for a personal cell phone. The minutes are limited per month and there will be an additional cost for it if the limit exceeded. Each vehicle transmission location counts as one registration. For every fifteen minute transmission there are four registrations per vehicle per hour. If a fleet with 100 vehicle operating eight hours a day, the monthly registration will be over 96,000. There are some AVL vendors who purchase airtime from wireless carriers, reduces their cost. That is why the vendor is restricted to allot the monthly total registration for their clients. So, the registration intervals become restrictive for the cost. If the customer can piggyback on existing wireless communication network, the cost of wireless transmission can be reduced or eliminated. This is a shared communication practice and this is called TRUNKING. Many public transportation companies are taking advantages of existing city government's or county communication infrastructure for their AVL systems.

The AVL system sounds expensive at the beginning but it will be cheaper once the set up is done. At the beginning the A2B Cars has to pay for the installation of all the equipments and the software both in the vehicle and at the control centre. The second cost will be the labor cost for maintenance of vehicle AVL equipment and control centre equipment. The main cost of installation of AVL system components depends on the size of the system, the components to be included and its level of sophistication.

This will be a significant cost for the software and equipments installed at the control centre. Per vehicle cost for smaller fleets is more than for large fleets. The overall AVL system costs ranged from ₤30,000 (12 vehicles) to ₤13 million (5700 vehicles). For the system the annual operation cost per vehicle is ₤1,550. (In London the operating environment is high. So the operation cost is also high). So the operation cost per day per vehicle becomes ₤4.31.

There are also some disadvantages of AVL system. This system is expensive at the starting time. At the beginning, the A2B Cars has to pay for purchasing the AVL system package and training personnel to use it. There is also an additional cost incurred for annual equipment updates and necessary replacement of broken hardware.

As far as we have seen, A2B Cars should develop AVL system for the reason of increasing operational efficiency. As a result an additional benefit will improve customer service with the help of the AVL systems to provide the clients with real time prediction of the taxi arrival. This will save company's money and time and will bring the fame. This will save customer time and provide the exact information about their journey from the beginning to the end. This will increase customer satisfaction and we all know that increasing customer satisfaction is the greatest benefit.

Task 2:

The two way radio communication system is a radio communication system that can both receive and transmit. This is also called transceiver which is different from a broadcast receiver that can only receive content. These two way radios are available in stationary base, hand-held portable configurations and mobile. A cellular phone or mobile phone is a well known example of a two way radio communication system that both receives and transmits at the same time.


A Mobile Data Terminal (MDT) is nothing but a computerized device used in public transit devices, courier vehicle, taxi cabs, commercial tracking fleets, service trucks, military logistics, warehouse inventory control, fishing fleets and emergency vehicles to communicate with the central control centre.

Mobile Data Terminal is consists of a keypad for entering information, a screen on which to view information and connected to the various peripheral devices including taximeters and two way radios. Mobile Data Terminal is very simple with its display and keypad unit. It can be connected to an AVL device or black box. It is most commonly used in vehicle. Usually, it requires specific installation protocols ergonomics, communication functionality and power. The installation will also include a power conditioning equipment, a WAN modem, a WAN, WLAN and GPS antenna.

Mobile Radio is the concept to describe the use of wireless data communications through radio communication system to receive and send data. This is also called broader mobile arena. Some companies use vehicle tracking and mobile data as a combined solution. On the other hand, mobiles and mobiles radio refer to the path of communications which is movable on either end and the wireless communication system and device which are based on radio frequencies.

The mobile radio consists of a microphone with a push to talk button, housed in a single box and a transceiver. There is also a vehicle mounted antenna for each installation which is connected to the transceiver with a coaxial cable. There are some modems are found which have separated and external speaker which is positioned and oriented facing the driver so that it is possible to overcome ambient road noise present when driving.


The Radio Equipments and Telecommunication Terminals Equipment Directives 99/5/EC (R & TTE Directive) was implemented in the UK (United Kingdom) on 08/04/ 2000 by the Radio Equipments and Telecommunications Terminal Equipments Regulation 2000. No radio equipment can be used or installed in the UK except under the authority of a license granted by or otherwise exempted by regulation made by the secretary of state because it is required by the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949. This is a condition of such an exemption regulations or a license as appropriate that equipment must meet the minimum requirement which is specified in the UK radio interface requirements for the stated frequency band and stated equipment types.

The minimum requirement is made for reasons related to the appropriate and effective use of the radio spectrum, in specific maximizing spectrum utilization. The UK Radio Interface Requirement has given a high level of description of how the spectrum in the UK can be used.

The government allows commercial and non-profitable organization for radio communication to assure the improvement of productivity and efficiency as well as the safety of property and life. It does not allow the land mobile radio communication for general public use. Many private land mobile services can be classified as commercial mobile services when recent legislation has amended section 332 of the communication act. Part 90 of the FCC rules contains the rules and regulations of private radio. Various PLMR services were allocated by FCC in the following band.

25-50 MHz

450-512 MHz

896-901 MHz

150-174 MHz

806-824 MHz

335-940 MHz

220-222 MHz

851-869 MHz













a. These frequencies can be shared and user can under local heavy use conditions, channel sharing problems and experience interference.

b. Equipment can be capable of reception of broadcast (FM/AM) frequencies.

c. Use of speech privacy measures, including speech inversion is permitted.

d. The PMR 446 can only be used for speech transmission.


12.5 KHz




500 MW

The limit which has been given in the above table assume that equipment performance is assumed using the test methods contains in ETR 027 which is also known as Radio Equipment and Systems, Methods of Measurement for private mobile radio equipment and the requirement contains in Electromagnetic Compatibility and Spectrum Methods, presentation equipment for type testing and land mobile service.


A2B Cars can use ConEX (Mobile Data Terminal) to communicate from vehicle to the control centre because ConEX boosts the capabilities of wireless tracking system by collecting about the vehicle activities on which it is installed.

Fig: ConEX (Mobile Data Terminal)

Moreover, it has Panic-Button, Power Take OFF (PTO), Door Locking System, Door Open or closed, Trailer separation, Pump Start/ Stop, Tail Lift Up/ Down as well as a whole host of other on-board data collection. All these are for 15p per day including all software and hardware installation as well as all the equipment comes free with the 12 months contract. Expert professional will help for the maintenance. Their professional will install all the hardware and software for the taxi company. They will help to get the license from the government and all including in the contract. These all are for 15p per vehicle per day. Moreover, they will train A2B Cars' employee to operate it.


There are also some limitations of the process of collecting data through different devices. The main limitation of data capture through these kinds of radio technologies is identification theft. Any one can easily impersonate the original owner with physical access to the smart card. The range is another main limitation of the two way radio communication system. If there is no signal, there is no information. There are some more limitations that put radio technology at risk.

They are as follows:

Difficult to use:-needs some specific training for the job.

Fragility:-it can not be used any more if it gets reputation of breaking.

Reception problem:- if there is no reception, there is no information.

Task 3:

The word topology refers to the network structure and layout of the connected device and it remains an important part of network design. I would recommend the Star-Bus Hybrid topology for A2B Cars.

Now-a-days, the most implemented network is the hybrid topology. This is a combination of two basic topologies where one topology functions as logically and the other one appears as physically.

Bus topology network uses a common backbone to connect all the devices and the design is very simple that utilizes a single length of cable which is known as the medium with directly LAN attach station. Every station shares the cable segment. All station on this segment can see transmission from all other stations on the cable segment and this is called the Broadcast Medium. If a device wants to communicate with another device within the network, it sends a broadcast message on to the cable that all other devices can see. Only the desire recipient can accept and process the message.

The Bus topology is relatively easy to install and does not require much cabling compare to the other topologies. Ethernet cabling options 10 base-5 and 10 base-2 have been being used for long for bus topology. On the other hand, bus network works best with a limited number of computers. If more than 30 computers are added, the performance of the network can be bad. No LAN device will have the connection or ability to transmit and receive if any cable is broken.

Star topology network is one of the most common network topology. It is simple because it consists of one central hub, switch or computer that works as a conduit to transmit message. The leaf node and hub as well as transmission line between them, form a graph with the topology of star. In this network topology, the originating node must be able to tolerate, any generated in the central node and the reception of an echo of its own transmission, delayed by the two way transmission time if the central node is passive. Usually, the star network has a central node to prevent echo-related problems. This topology has reduced the chance of network failure because all the systems are connected to a central node.

Star topology has a huge capacity to connect additional device. It's easy to understand, navigate and establish. However, there are some disadvantages of using the star topology network. It sounds the high dependence of the system on the functioning of the central hub. The scalabilities and the performance of the network depend on the capabilities of the hub.

The Bus topology will work as logically but star topology will appear physically. It will be more reliable and the performance will be high as well as the cost will be reasonable. So, the Star-Bus Hybrid topology network will be the best solution for A2B Cars.

Task 4:

Transmission of vehicle location data and voice communication over a two way radio communication system are easy to intercept using widely available and inexpensive consumer electronics. Most of the terrorists are monitoring every message so that they can obtain information that will help them plan death and destruction.

If there is no communication security, terrorists can intercept more sensitive information about the vehicle location and can attack the VIP passenger. As a result, the company goes down. So there should be immediate action to end the vulnerability. It requires careful and comprehensive planning two secure two way radio communication. Security is not a product, it's a process. Creating a security policy is the best way to begin this process.

The security policy of A2B Cars can be as follows:

Lists purpose, objectives and goals.

The overall system should be described.

Defines threat, risk and asset.

Presents procedures, rules, controls and standards.

The contingency plan should be contained.

In the security policy document, it has to be described why security is necessary and how security will be achieved. The main theme of the security policy is trust. It means, who is trusted and what are they trusted to do. Another important theme of the security policy is risk. It is the combination of like hood and impact of any specific attack. Though there are many things can be added in the security policy, even a simple security policy would be helpful when evaluating two way radio communication security solutions.

As soon as the security policy is done, the next steps should be as follows.

Upgrading or replacing existing system.

Determining training and support.

Calculating the time to complete all tasks.

Identifying the qualified vendors.

Selecting appropriate product.

While achieving the objectives of the security policy, a small budget is adequate to upgrade the existing system. The qualification of vendor is very important while choosing two way radio communication security solutions.

It does not matter how well designed a system is because it is as secure as the end user allows it to be. The security system should have proper vigilance and management. A2B Cars should take the following necessary actions to maintain a proper security.

Conducts periodic security audits.

Screens trusted personnel properly.

Practices the contingency plan.

As circumstance require, update the security policy.

Establishing two way radio communication securities is a process that requires preparation and planning. The communication security is based on a security policy which has to be maintained.

Task 5

The vehicle tracking system is used to track the vehicle location. The system also provides some additional information of the vehicle. There are many tracking system available in the market but AVL system will be the best solution for A2B Cars Company.

The major technology that employed for AVL systems are (1) GPS, (2) signpost and Odometer, (3) Radio navigation/ Location, (4) Dead-reckoning. The most AVL consists of GSM and GPS modem with AVL software and microcontroller. The GPS equipment provides the most accurate information about the vehicle location. Some AVL systems use dead reckoning system in combination with GPS to overcome all the gaps. The AVL tracking system provides very accurate data. It is not only used to locate the vehicle location data but also used to get information about fuel consumption, engine data, sensor data and driver data. It also gives information about the route which the vehicle has already gone through. Receiving signal from GPS is totally free but data transmission from vehicle to the control centre costs money. The system seems expensive at the beginning but once all the set up is done, it sounds reasonable. The maintenance cost is not that high. The operation cost per vehicle per day is only ₤4.31 per day.

The A2B Cars can implement two-way voice communication for data transmission from vehicle to the control centre. To do so, Mobile Data Terminal can be used for the taxi company. Usually, it is used in public transit devices, courier vehicle, taxi cabs and commercial tracking fleet to communicate with the control centre. This Mobile Data Terminal consists of a keypad for entering information, a screen on which to view information and connected to the various peripheral devices including taxi meters and two way radio. It is connected to an AVL device. There are many Mobile Data Terminal Devices are found in the market. Considering the requirements and needs, ConEx can be selected for A2B Cars. ConEx boosts the capabilities of wireless tracking system by collecting vehicle activities on which it is installed. However, the radio equipment can not be used or installed in the UK except under the authority of a license granted by the secretary of state it is required by wireless telegraphy act 1949.

The taxi company can use the star bus hybrid topology LAN network for in-house use. Here, star topology will work physically and bus topology will appear as logically. Star topology has huge capacity to connect additional device and it's easy to understand, navigate and establish. It has some disadvantages as well. To overcome these disadvantages, bus topology network will be applied logically.

If there is no communication security, terrorists can intercept more sensitive information about the vehicle location and attack the VIP passenger. Security is not a product, it's a process. Creating a security policy is the best way to begin this process. It does not matter how well designed a system is because it is as secure as the end user allows it to be. The security system should have proper vigilance and management.