We designed and created Trip Log as a replacement for black-boxes used by GSP/fleet management companies. The PRO & CONS of using mobile technology for asset management versus special designed hardware was discussed on one of our previous posts.
Trip Log is using the GPS, the accelerometer, the compass sensors (or fusion sensor) on the phone to collect GPS data, motion data and is applying business rules in order to monitor geofence activities, idling engine runs. With collected data the user can create a variety of reports and charts to monitor vehicle usage.
What is new and different than other mobile applications with the same purpose (trip mileage management) is the detailed features which are common for hardware GPS boxes:
monitoring geofence activity
monitoring idling runs
detecting automatically when a trip begins or ends
send messages with location back to web servers (status feature with location – attaches GPS information to the message)
calculate the vehicle utilization based on driving/idling periods
Due to the sensor detection movement, the app does not require driver’s attention. Once is set-up it will run in the background collecting data.
Our application is more oriented toward vehicle monitoring than a simple trip logger. It is designed to trigger notifications on the back-end once certain thresholds are reached:
- enter/exit geozones
- idling periods
Another important feature is distance calculation both in the app and on the back-end for each trip – there is a road distance versus a “distance-between-locations”.
Our app can be used by all fleet operators at different levels/different price points;
- as it is (PLUS version), generating reports/charts for fleet activity
- PRO version – integrated fleet management along with driver management
The big advantage for fleet operators is the price range, reliability and adaptability for future improvements as the mobile platforms are evolving.
*Some of the features are only available only for the PRO version.
Summary of the features
The dashboard shows a list of all managed vehicles, the daily activity information for the current day and the information of the last trip. Daily activity consists of the current odometer, number of trips, total mileage for the day and total driving period for the day. The trip information consists of the duration, the mileage, the maximum and average speed and the lists of all the locations recorded for the trip. There are the following type of messages:
- start/end trip
- geozone info (in or out of geozone)
- message with location information (when a driver reaches a location it can send a message which is supplemented automatically with the GPS info)
Trip Recording, Daily Stats
The application allows to see daily statistics of the vehicle:
- counting vehicle trips
- the current odometer
- counting the number of km/miles for the day
- counting the driving intervals
- counting the idling intervals
For the trip management, the user can assign tags (with colors) to any trip, assign notes and view the GPS locations. The trip will also record in/out of geozones, idling runs and messages with location.
As with all our mobile applications there are three versions, free, one time fee and subscription. We understand some features are not useful for some users (geozone, motion detection, reports and charts) and that led to supporting in-app purchases for:
- geozone management : creation, assignment to vehicles and monitoring
- trip definition using GPS, motion sensors
- detailed reports and charts for daily activity, trip summary, geozone activity, idling runnings
The subscription version will synchronize data to our back-end solution (www.fleetgateway.com) and allows IFTA reports, precise mileage control, and user management. For the subscription version we will post another document.
The free version allows manual control of the trip events (start/stop) and power detected trip control. When the phone/mobile device is powered by the cigarette lighter, the user can opt-in for trip start/end when the power is detected.
There are two other options for trip start/end:
- based on GPS – if the speed is greater than a certain threshold the trip is started automatically or the user is prompted to do it. If the idling period is crossing a threshold time duration the trip is ended.
- based on motion detection – if the confidence the mobile device is in a car is higher than a threshold then a trip is started automatically or the user is prompted to do it. If the confidence level is higher than the mobile device is on foot, then the trip is ended.
These three situations relieves the user of manually starting/stopping the trip:
- If the mobile device is automatically connected to the cigarette lighter and is not attached to vehicle then it may use ignition on/off to trigger/stop a trip.
- If the mobile device is with the driver all the time and it is used for other tasks then motion detection is appropriate and precise.
- The GPS speed and idling monitoring is less precise (due to frequency and delays of getting GPS info).
The Android platform has support for geozone/geofence monitoring and we included it in the application. The user is notified when it enters/exits a round zone defined as center location and radius. The application allows to draw a geofence/geozone and records activities of crossing the boundaries.
Advanced Reporting and Charts
The reports reflects what is available in the dashboard screen:
- daily activity reports and charts
- trip summary reports and charts
- trip idling reports and charts
- geozone activity
- total idling per trip reports
- vehicle utilization report
For a detailed explanation of the application we suggest to read Trip Log FAQ.