Telematics is an interdisciplinary field that encompasses telecommunications, vehicular technologies, for instance, road transportation, road safety, electrical engineering (sensors, instrumentation, wireless communications, etc.), and computer science (multimedia, Internet, etc.). Telematics can involve any of the following:


Telematics is a translation of the French word télématique which was first coined by Simon Nora and Alain Minc in a 1978 report to the French government on the computerization of society. It referred to the transfer of information over telecommunications and was a portmanteau blending the French words télécommunications ("telecommunications") and informatique ("computing science"). The original broad meaning of telematics continues to be used in academic fields but in commerce it now generally means vehicle telematics.[1]

Vehicle telematics

Telematics —

  1. The convergence of telecommunications and information processing, the term later evolved to refer to automation in automobiles, such as the invention of the emergency warning system for vehicles. GPS navigation, integrated hands-free cell phones, wireless safety communications and automatic driving assistance systems all are covered under the telematics umbrella.
  2. The science of telecommunications and informatics applied in wireless technologies and computational systems. 802.11p, the IEEE standard in the 802.11 family and also referred to as Wireless Access for the Vehicular Environment (WAVE), is the primary standard that addresses and enhances Intelligent Transportation System.

Practical applications of vehicle telematics

Vehicle telematics can help improve the efficiency of an organization. Practical applications include:

Vehicle tracking

Vehicle tracking is monitoring the location, movements, status and behaviour of a vehicle or fleet of vehicles. This is achieved through a combination of a GPS (GNSS) receiver and an electronic device (usually comprising a GSM GPRS modem or SMS sender) installed in each vehicle, communicating with the user (dispatching, emergency or co-ordinating unit) and PC-based or web-based software. The data is turned into information by management reporting tools in conjunction with a visual display on computerised mapping software. Vehicle tracking systems may also use odometry or dead reckoning as an alternative or complementary means of navigation.

GPS tracking is usually accurate to around 10–20 metres,[2] but the European Space Agency has developed the EGNOS technology to provide accuracy to 1.5 metres.[3]

Trailer tracking

Trailer tracking is tracking the movements and position of an articulated vehicle's trailer unit, through the use of a location unit fitted to the trailer and a method of returning the position data via mobile communication network, IOT (Internet of things) or geostationary satellite communications, for use through either PC- or web-based software.

Cold-store freight trailers that deliver fresh or frozen foods are increasingly incorporating telematics to gather time-series data on the temperature inside the cargo container, both to trigger alarms and record an audit trail for business purposes. An increasingly sophisticated array of sensors, many incorporating RFID technology, is being used to ensure the cold chain.

Container tracking

Freight containers can be tracked by GPS using a similar approach to that used for trailer tracking i.e. a battery-powered GPS device communicating its position via mobile phone or satellite communications. Benefits of this approach include increased security and the possibility to reschedule the container transport movements based on accurate information about its location. According to Berg Insight the installed base of tracking units in the intermodal shipping container segment reached 190,000 at the end of 2013.[4] Growing at a compound annual growth rate of 38.2 percent, the installed base will reach 960,000 units at the end of 2018.

Fleet management

Fleet management is the management of a company's fleet. Fleet management includes the management of ships and or motor vehicles such as cars, vans and trucks. Fleet (vehicle) Management can include a range of functions, such as vehicle financing, vehicle maintenance, vehicle telematics (tracking and diagnostics), driver management, fuel management, health and safety management and dynamic vehicle scheduling. Fleet Management is a function which allows companies that rely on transportation in their business to remove or minimize the risks associated with vehicle investment, improving efficiency, productivity and reducing their overall transportation costs, providing 100% compliance with government legislation and Duty of Care obligations. These functions can either be dealt with by an in-house Fleet Management department or an outsourced Fleet Management provider.[5]

Telematics Standards

The Association of Equipment Management Professionals (AEMP)[6] developed the industry's first telematics standard.

In 2008, AEMP brought together the major construction equipment manufacturers and telematics providers in the heavy equipment industry to discuss the development of the industry's first telematics standard.[7] Following agreement from Caterpillar, Volvo CE, Komatsu, and John Deere Construction & Forestry to support such a standard, the AEMP formed a standards development subcommittee, chaired by Pat Crail CEM, to develop the standard.[8] This committee consisted of developers provided by the Caterpillar/Trimble joint venture known as Virtual Site Solutions, Volvo CE, and John Deere. This group worked from February 2009 through September 2010 to develop the industry's first standard for the delivery of telematics data.[9]

The result, the AEMP Telematics Data Standard V1.1[9] was released in 2010 and officially went live on October 1, 2010. As of November 1, 2010, Caterpillar, Volvo CE, John Deere Construction & Forestry, OEM Data Delivery, and Navman Wireless are able to support customers with delivery of basic telematics data in a standard xml format. Komatsu, Topcon, and others are finishing beta testing and have indicated that they will be able to support customers before the end of 2010.[9]

The AEMP's telematics data standard was developed to allow end users to integrate key telematics data (operating hours, location, fuel consumed, and odometer reading where applicable) into their existing fleet management reporting systems. As such, the standard was primarily intended to facilitate importation of these data elements into enterprise software systems such as those used by many medium to large construction contractors. Prior to the standard, end users had few options for integrating this data into their reporting systems in a mixed-fleet environment consisting of multiple brands of machines and a mix of telematics-equipped machines and legacy machines (those without telematics devices where operating data is still reported manually via pen and paper). One option available to machine owners was to visit multiple websites to manually retrieve data from each manufacturer's telematics interface and then manually enter it into their fleet management program's database. This option was cumbersome and labor-intensive.[10]

A second option was for the end user to develop an API (Application Programming Interface), or program, to integrate the data from each telematics provider into his or her database. This option was quite costly, as each telematics provider had a different procedure for accessing and retrieving the data and the data format varied from provider to provider. This option automated the process, but because each provider required a unique, custom API to retrieve and parse the data, it was an expensive option. In addition, another API had to be developed any time another brand of machine or telematics device was added to the fleet.[10]

A third option for mixed-fleet integration was to replace the various factory-installed telematics devices with devices from a third party telematics provider. Although this solved the problem of having multiple data providers requiring unique integration methods, this was by far the most expensive option. In addition to the expense, many of the third-party devices available for construction equipment are unable to access data directly from the machine's electronic control modules (ECMs), or computers, and as such are more limited than the device installed by the OEM (Cat, Volvo, Deere, Komatsu, etc.) in the data they are able to provide. In some cases, these devices are limited to location and engine run time, although they are increasingly able to accommodate a number of add-on sensors to provide additional data.[10]

The AEMP Telematics Data Standard provides a fourth option. By concentrating on the key data elements that drive the majority of fleet management reports (hours, miles, location, fuel consumption), making those data elements available in a standardized xml format, and standardizing the means by which the document is retrieved, the standard allows the end user to use one API to retrieve data from any participating telematics provider. Because one API can retrieve data from any participating telematics provider, as opposed to the unique API for each provider that was required previously, integration development costs are greatly reduced.[9]

The current draft version of the AEMP Telematics Data Standard is now called the AEM/AEMP Draft Telematics API Standard which expands the original standard, Version 1.2 to include 19 data fields (with fault code capability). This new draft standard is a collaborative effort of AEMP and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), working on behalf of their members and the industry. This Draft API replaces the current version 1.2. The Draft API does not currently cover some types of equipment, e.g., agriculture equipment, cranes, mobile elevating work platforms, air compressors and other niche products.

In addition to the new data fields, the AEM/AEMP Draft Telematics API (Application Programming Interface) Standard also changes how the data is accessed in an effort to make it easier to consume and integrate with other systems and processes. It includes standardized communication protocols for the ability to transfer telematics information in mixed equipment fleets to end user business enterprise systems, enabling the end user to employ their own business software to collect and then analyze asset data from mixed equipment fleets without the need to work across multiple telematics provider applications.

To achieve a globally recognized standard for conformity worldwide, the AEM/AEMP Draft Telematics API Standard will be submitted for acceptance by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Final language is dependent upon completion of the ISO acceptance process.

Satellite navigation

Satellite navigation in the context of vehicle telematics is the technology of using a GPS and electronic mapping tool to enable the driver of a vehicle to locate a position, plan a route and navigate a journey.

Mobile data

Mobile data is the use of wireless data communications using radio waves to send and receive real time computer data to, from and between devices used by field based personnel. These devices can be fitted solely for use while in the vehicle (Fixed Data Terminal) or for use in and out of the vehicle (Mobile Data Terminal). See mobile Internet.

The common methods for mobile data communication for telematics was based on private vendors RF communication infrastructure. During the early 2000, manufacturers of mobile data terminals/AVL devices, moved to try cellular data communication in order to offer cheaper ways to transmit telematics information and wider range based on the country full coverage of cellular providers. Ever since then, thanks to the cellular providers that offered low GPRS (2.5G) and later UMTS (3G) rates, mobile data is almost totally offered to telematics customers by cellular communication.

Wireless vehicle safety communications

Wireless vehicle safety communications telematics aid in car safety and road safety. It is an electronic sub-system in a car or other vehicle for the purpose of exchanging safety information, about such things as road hazards and the locations and speeds of vehicles, over short range radio links. This may involve temporary ad hoc wireless local area networks.

Wireless units will be installed in vehicles and probably also in fixed locations such as near traffic signals and emergency call boxes along the road. Sensors in the cars and at the fixed locations, as well as possible connections to wider networks, will provide the information, which will be displayed to the drivers in some way. The range of the radio links can be extended by forwarding messages along multi-hop paths. Even without fixed units, information about fixed hazards can be maintained by moving vehicles by passing it backwards. It also seems possible for traffic lights, which one can expect to become smarter, to use this information to reduce the chance of collisions.

Further in the future, it may connect directly to the adaptive cruise control or other vehicle control aids. Cars and trucks with the wireless system connected to their brakes may move in convoys, to save fuel and space on the roads. When any column member slows down, all those behind it will automatically slow also. There are also possibilities that need less engineering effort. A radio beacon could be connected to the brake light, for example.

Network ideas were scheduled for test in fall 2008, in Europe where radio frequency bandwidth has been allocated. The 30 MHz allocated is at 5.9 GHz, and unallocated bandwidth at 5.4 GHz may also be used. The standard is IEEE 802.11p, a low-latency form of the Wi-Fi local area network standard. Similar efforts are underway in Japan and the USA.[11]

Emergency warning system for vehicles

Telematics technologies are self-orientating open network architecture structures of variable programmable intelligent beacons developed for application in the development of intelligent vehicles, with the intent to accord (blend, or mesh) warning information with surrounding vehicles in the vicinity of travel, intra-vehicle, and infrastructure. Emergency warning systems for vehicles telematics are developed particularly for international harmonization and standardization of vehicle-to-vehicle, infrastructure-to-vehicle, and vehicle-to-infrastructure real-time Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC) systems.

Telematics most commonly relate to computerized systems that update information at the same rate as they receive data, enabling them to direct or control a process such as an instantaneous autonomous warning notification in a remote machine or group of machines. By use of telematics as applied to intelligent vehicle technologies, instantaneous direction travel cognizance of a vehicle may be transmitted in real-time to surrounding vehicles traveling in the local area of vehicles equipped (with EWSV) to receive said warning signals of danger.

Intelligent vehicle technologies

Telematics comprise electronic, electromechanical, and electromagnetic devices — usually silicon micromachined components operating in conjunction with computer controlled devices and radio transceivers to provide precision repeatability functions (such as in robotics artificial intelligence systems) emergency warning validation performance reconstruction.

Intelligent vehicle technologies commonly apply to car safety systems and self-contained autonomous electromechanical sensors generating warnings that can be transmitted within a specified targeted area of interest, say within 100 meters of the emergency warning system for vehicles transceiver. In ground applications, intelligent vehicle technologies are utilized for safety and commercial communications between vehicles or between a vehicle and a sensor along the road.

On November 3, 2009 the most advanced Intelligent Vehicle concept car was demonstrated in New York City. A 2010 Toyota Prius became the first LTE connected car. The demonstration was provided by the NG Connect project, a collaboration of automotive telematic technologies designed to exploit in-car 4G wireless network connectivity.[12]


Telematics technology has allowed carsharing services to emerge, such as Local Motion, Uber, Lyft, Car2Go, Zipcar worldwide or City Car Club in the UK. Telematics-enabled computers allow organizers to track members' usage and bill them on a pay-as-you-drive basis. Some systems show users where to find an idle vehicle.[13] Car Clubs such as Australia's Charter Drive use telematics to monitor and report on vehicle use within pre-defined geofence areas, in order to demonstrate the reach of their transit media car club fleet.

Auto insurance / Usage-based insurance (UBI)

The basic idea of telematics auto insurance is that a driver's behavior is monitored directly while the person drives and this information is transmitted to an insurance company. The insurance company then assesses the risk of that driver having an accident and charges insurance premiums accordingly. A driver who drives less responsibly, will be charged a higher premium than a driver who drives smoothly and with less calculated risk of claim propensity. Other benefits can be delivered to end users with Telematics2.0 based telematics as customer engagement can be enhanced with direct customer interaction.

Telematics auto insurance was independently invented and patented[14] by a major U.S. auto insurance company, Progressive Auto Insurance U.S. Patent 5,797,134 and a Spanish independent inventor, Salvador Minguijon Perez (European Patent EP0700009B1). The Perez patents cover monitoring the car's engine control computer to determine distance driven, speed, time of day, braking force, etc. Ironically, Progressive is developing the Perez technology in the US and European auto insurer Norwich Union is developing the Progressive technology for Europe. Both patents have now since been overturned in courts due to prior work in the commercial insurance sectors.[15]

According to ABI Research global insurance telematics subscriptions could exceed 107 million in 2018, up from 5.5 million at the end of 2013.[16] PTOLEMUS estimates UBI will represent more than 100 million telematics policies generating in excess of €50 billion in premiums globally by 2020.[17]

Trials conducted by Norwich Union in 2005 have found that young drivers (18- to 23-year-olds) signing up for telematics auto insurance have had a 20% lower accident rate than average.[18]

Theoretical economic research in 2007 on the social welfare effects of Progressive's telematics technology business process patents have questioned whether the business process patents are pareto efficient for society. Preliminary results suggest that it is not, but more work is needed.[19][20] The progressive patents have been overturned in the US Legal system Apr 2014 on grounds of lack of originality.

The smartphone as the in-vehicle device for insurance telematics has been discussed in great detail[21] and the instruments are available for the design of smartphone-driven insurance telematics.

Telematics education

Engineering Degree programs

  • Federico Santa María Technical University (UTFSM) in Chile has a Telematics Engineering program which is a six-years full-time programme of study (12 academic semesters). The final degree in Telematics Engineering has the title of Ingeniería Civil Telemática (with the suffix of Civil).[22]

University Bachelor programs

  • Harokopio University of Athens has a four-years full-time programme of study. The department goal is the development and advancement of computer science, primarily in the field of network information systems and relative e-services. For this purpose, attention is focused in the fields of telematics (teleinformatics) which are relative to network and internet technologies, e-business, e-government, e-health, advanced transport telematics, etc.[23]
  • TH Wildau in Wildau, Germany provides a three years full-time telematics Bachelor study programme since 1999.[24]
  • TU Graz in Graz, Austria offers a three year Bachelor in telematics (now called "Information and Computer Engineering").[25]
  • Singapore Institute of Technology offers a three year Bachelor in Telematics.

University Masters programs

Several universities provide two year Telematics Master of Science programmes:

  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norway[26]
  • University of Twente (UT), The Netherlands[27]
  • University Carlos III of Madrid (UC3M), Spain[28]
  • Harokopio University Athens[29]
  • TH Wildau in Wildau, Germany[30]
  • TU Graz in Graz, Austria (now called "Information and Computer Engineering")[31]

European Automotive Digital Innovation Studio (EADIS)

In 2007 a project entitled the European Automotive Digital Innovation Studio (EADIS) was awarded 400,000 Euros from the European commission under its Leonardo da Vinci programme. EADIS used a virtual work environment called the Digital Innovation Studio to train and develop professional designers in the automotive industry in the impact and application of ‘vehicle telematics’ so that they could integrate new technologies into future products within the automotive industry. Funding ended in 2013.[32]

See also


  1. "What is telematics? A Webopedia Definition". Retrieved 2015-08-16.
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-08-04. Retrieved 2012-08-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. esa. "What is EGNOS?".
  4. "Berg Insight".
  5. Zagoudis, Jeff. "Telematics Puts Managers In The Driver's Seat". Retrieved July 3, 2013.
  6. "Association of Equipment Management Professionals". Association of Equipment Management Professionals. 2017-10-20. Retrieved 2018-02-28.
  7. "AEMP Releases Updated Version of Telematics Standard - Construction Equipment".
  8. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-10-04. Retrieved 2010-11-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. "AEMP Telematics API - Association of Equipment Management Professionals (AEMP)". Retrieved 2019-09-26.
  10. "Telematics Turns the Corner - Construction Equipment".
  11. "Car Talk", IEEE Spectrum, October 2008, p. 16
  12. "Blog - ng Connect".
  13. Gizmag Sharing system
  14. Nowotarski, Mark, "Progressive Builds a Fortress of Patent Protection", Insurance IP Bulletin, October 15, 2004
  15. "Progressive UBI Patents Cancelled".
  16. Global Insurance Telematics Subscriptions to Exceed 100 million by 2018, but Auto Insurance Faces Dramatic Changes, ABI Research
  17. "Overview of the UBI Global Study 2013 - PTOLEMUS Consulting Services".
  18. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-11-02. Retrieved 2006-12-20.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. "Strauss and Hollis, 2007, Insurance Markets When Firms are Asymmetrically Informed: A Note" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-09-26.
  20. "Hollis and Strauss, 2007, Privacy, Driving Data and Automobile Insurance: An Economic Analysis" (PDF).
  21. Handel, P.; Skog, I.; Wahlstrom, J.; Bonawiede, F.; Welch, R.; Ohlsson, J.; Ohlsson, M., "Insurance Telematics: Opportunities and Challenges with the Smartphone Solution," Intelligent Transportation Systems Magazine, IEEE , vol.6, no.4, pp.57,70, winter 2014 doi:10.1109/MITS.2014.2343262 URL:
  22., Ilógica -. "Ingeniería Civil Telemática en Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María". Ingeniería Civil Telemática en Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María.
  23. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-02-18. Retrieved 2017-02-18.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  24. "Technische Hochschule Wildau - TH Wildau : Bachelor". (in German). Archived from the original on 2017-09-04. Retrieved 2017-07-20.
  25. "Bachelor's Degree Programme Information and Computer Engineering - TU Graz". Retrieved 2018-04-06.
  26. Fossen, Christian. "Master of Science (MSc) in Communication Technology – 2-years – Trondheim".
  27. "Internet Science & Technology - MSc University of Twente". Universiteit Twente.
  28. "Master in Telematics Engineering - UC3M".
  29. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-02-18. Retrieved 2017-02-18.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  30. "Technische Hochschule Wildau - TH Wildau : Master". (in German). Archived from the original on 2016-04-11. Retrieved 2017-07-20.
  31. "Master's Degree Programme Information and Computer Engineering - TU Graz". Retrieved 2018-04-06.
  32. "Lifelong Learning Programme - European Commission". Retrieved 2015-08-16.


  • Matthew Wright, Editor, UK Telematics Online
  • IEEE Communications Magazine, April 2005, "Ad Hoc Peer-to-Peer Network Architecture for Vehicle Safety Communications"
  • IEEE Communications Magazine, April 2005, "The Application-Based Clustering Concept and Requirements for Intervehicle Networks"
  • Jerzy Mikulski, Editor, "Advances in Transport Systems Telematics". Monograph. Publisher Jacek Skalmierski Computer Studio. Katowice 2006. ISBN 83-917156-4-7
  • Jerzy Mikulski, Editor, "Advances in Transport Systems Telematics 2". Monograph. Publisher Chair of Automatic Control in Transport, Faculty of Transport, Silesian University of Technology. Katowice 2007. ISBN 978-83-917156-6-6
  • World report on road traffic injury prevention. World Health Organization.
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