GPS / Telematics

Federal Vehicles Increasingly Outfitted With Smart Technologies

August 15, 2007

WASHINGTON – Federal cars and trucks are increasingly being outfitted with smart technologies that can record virtually everything a driver does with a vehicle: where he goes, how fast he goes, how often he makes sudden stops, even when he’s swerving frequently between lanes, according to Federal Times.

Fleet managers now can track in real time on the Internet the exact whereabouts of about 6,000 government-owned vehicles via Networkfleet, a wireless fleet management system created by Networkcar of San Diego. The system uses GPS satellites, cellular phone networks, and on-board engine diagnostics technologies to create a system that enables fleet managers to know virtually everything about their cars — and a lot about their drivers.

Dennis Kane, government sales manager for Networkfleet, said some of his customers have reported 20- to 30-percent declines in mileage on their vehicles because drivers aren’t using them for unauthorized trips anymore.

The system also can track how much fuel an engine is burning, what mileage it’s getting, how much time it spends idle, and other information.

Since GSA and the Marine Corps first tested these technologies in 2003, their adoption has grown considerably, according to Federal Times. The Marine Corps requires all of its recruiters to drive in cars with this tracking technology. Others have had it installed on their vehicles, including the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the U.S. District Court in Middle Tennessee, the Army’s Tank-automotive and Armaments Command, and organizations in the Justice, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security departments.

Most recently, the Army Recruiting Command completed a test of the technology on 50 vehicles in Tennessee and Kentucky and is expected to begin wider use of it.

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