Vehicle Tracking Systems use a combination of technologies to tracking real-time location of the vehicle or to create a history of where the vehicle has been. These systems are used in a variety of industries and are also a key part of most stolen vehicle recovery strategies. Most vehicle tracking systems use GPS technology and some also use cellular or radio transmitters.

Types of Vehicle Tracking

There are two types of vehicle tracking, each of which is useful in certain situations.

  • Passive : the simplest vehicle tracking systems are passive in nature. These trackers usually use a GPS device to record the location of the vehicle over time. When the tracker is removed, the data can be transferred to a computer and analyzed. These tracking systems are useful for fleet management, but they have other applications as well.
  • Actively : more sophisticated tracking systems transmit the vehicle’s location in real time. For fleet management and shipping purposes, this data is usually tracked from a central location. This type of system can also be used to recover a stolen vehicle.

Commercially available recovery systems for stolen vehicles

There are several aftermarket options, including:

  • lojack
  • Mobile IQ
  • smart tracker
  • VectorTrak
  • zoombak

Most of these systems use a GPS device in combination with cellular transmitter. In addition to commercially available systems, it is also possible to create a temporary GPS tracking device with a cell phone. However, all GPS and cellular based trackers can fail if the car is parked in a building or driven into an area where there are no cell towers. LoJack is an old system based on radio transmissions that police cars can pick up with special antennas.

In addition to aftermarket options, most OEMs offer some sort of stolen vehicle recovery system. These systems are also based on GPS data and transmit the location of the vehicle using a cellular connection for data transmission. Some of the OEM options include:

Recovery outside of a stolen car

Various industries use vehicle tracking systems for purposes other than recovering stolen vehicles. Some of the more common uses include:

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