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Pros and cons of active vehicle tracking devices

Active vehicle tracking devices are quickly taking over the market. This type of devices transmits data in real time to the fleet manager, through a server and with the help of fleet management software. But although they have many, many advantages over older, passive vehicle tracking systems, these active trackers still suffer from a few disadvantages which need to be taken into account by the prospective buyer.

Active vehicle tracking devices

Pros of active vehicle tracking devices

Active vehicle tracking systems have all the advantages of real-time data transmission - and more.

Versatile networks

Data transmission can either be done over wireless, cell-phone networks, through satellite communications... or through both types of connections. This works as a useful failsafe in case either of the two networks is down.

Real time means real time

Within seconds, information is transmitted from the vehicle to the management centre - this qualifies as real time. This also means that the management and/or software can actually control the vehicle remotely, telling the driver where to go in case the vehicle deviates from the planned route, calculate the fastest, most fuel-efficient route in real time to suggest necessary adjustments.

Automatic reassignment

Given the evolution of the fleet’s vehicles whereabouts and the influx of new orders, tasks can be reassigned in real time based on cost efficiencies, fuel efficiency, and driver working hours.

Labour law compliance

An active vehicle tracking system allow alerts to be activated when a driver exceeds his or her driving hour quota, ensuring better labour law compliance and better safety. 

Accurate delivery time information

Customers can be automatically notified of expected delivery time, and expected delays if anything unexpected happens. This greatly reduces the number of failed deliveries and improves customer satisfaction.


Cons of active vehicle tracking devices

However, active vehicle tracking devices have a few drawbacks which need to be carefully considered by prospective buyers.

Greater initial investment

Understandably, active vehicle systems are more expensive to buy than passive vehicle tracking systems - by more than a few hundred pounds, when not thousands.

Higher running costs

Active systems need data plans, server operations, advanced software, sometimes integration with other software and complicated installation. This drives costs up significantly, and may require the intervention of qualified personnel.

Network dependent

As with any wirelessly connected device, active vehicle tracking systems require working network coverage to operate. Although satellite connection can work pretty much anywhere, the cost is much more expensive than using cellular networks.


Acceptance by the workforce of active vehicle tracking devices is, and will likely remain for many years a real issue.  Applicable laws make it compulsory for the business to notify any employee that he or she will be tracked, and in most cases, employees have a right to refuse. Concerns over privacy often lead employees to suspicion and rejection of active vehicle tracking devices, much more often than with passive systems.


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