Nowadays, GPS –enabled vehicle tracking system is becoming a normal trend. GPS informs you about the location of your vehicle with accurate details of latitude and longitude. GPS tracking systems have mostly proved to be greatly useful so these are responsible for the effective management of time in travel services. However, there are certain disadvantages associated with using GPS tracking devices in travel and transportation services. These have been discussed below:
- Lack of Accuracy: The primary task of a GPS unit is to calculate the locational position of the device by interpreting the signal it is deciphering from 3 or more satellites. However, the technical difficulty might arise when the line of sight is blocked by trees, tall buildings or other forms of obstacles. This will lead to the blockage of the reception of these signals. Such technical issues might cause GPS units to display inaccurate location, thus leading to several problems. The ‘Canyon Effect’ refers to the technical issue which results when tall buildings block the reception of GPS signal. The time and position are calculated according to the time required for the reception of the signal. The transmission of the signal happens at a specific rate. The detectors in GPS units work with accuracy only up to a timespan of 10 nanoseconds. Put in terms of distance, this is about 3 meters. This is the maximum measure of accuracy offered by a standard GPS unit. Another vital issue is the deviation between and the GPS receiver clock timing and the satellite timing which brings synchronicity to the worldwide GPS system. This causes the time to divert away from the real time. The usage of a highly precise atomic clock can cause the GPS units to become uneconomic. A substitute solution is to deploy special algorithms that would take into account the time keeping error and reset the clock accordingly.
However, all these issues can be resolved to a significant extent if those GPS units are employed which are equipped to receive signals from more than three satellite and accurate algorithms.
- Drainage of Battery: Power drainage can lead to malfunctioning of the GPS unit, especially the GPS systems which operates on solar power house or those GPS systems which have a durable battery life. An unreceptive GPS unit consumes a huge amount of power even if the vehicle is idle. However, in the present times commercial GPS units are being manufactured which activates sleep mode when the vehicle is idle or parked. This ensures al longer duration of battery power. Another solution is to depend on specific versions of GPS units which are endowed with replaceable batteries.
- Employees Are Offended: It is likely that not all employees would feel comfortable when they are tracked by a GPS system. GPS tracking might make them feel like they are being spied upon. Since, GPS tracking system has a lot of advantages to offer like safety, protection from theft, convincing them to adopt the system of GPS tracking on their vehicles might not be a very difficult task.
- Environmental Conditions: The use of GPS tracking system in the transport and travel system might be adversely affected due to certain environmental conditions. For instance, satellite signals might get tampered with, in situations like solar flares. Governmental agencies need to announce them ahead in time so that owners of cars equipped with GPS units might take the necessary precautions in order to overcome this situation.
- Surveillance of travel data tends to consume time and labour: Fleet managers usually have to spend a lot of time in monitoring the units to obtain a precise analysis.
- Human intervention: The GPS vehicle tracking systems might get adversely affected by technological spying which is a modern version of electronic warfare. GPS jammers which are used by disruptive issues are also steadily on the rise. The effects of these issues might be dangerous and may not be controlled easily.
There are also other unforeseen obstacles to GPS signal reception that may be caused by the GPS user. For example, a key disruption can be brought about by unknowingly putting a metallic object that blocks the GPS receiver. The GPS antenna is capable of receiving signals only through plastic surface but not through metal ones. Positioning the GPS unit near the windscreen tends to tamper the quality of signal in newer vehicles that have metalized glass or vehicles that have heated windshield.
These issues, while significant, can be solved by locating the GPS antenna in a proper position after carefully taking into account the mechanical constitution and the nature of the vehicle and its easy alignment with the GPS unit.
Finally, in conclusion, it can be said that the flaws of GPS tracking systems fitted in vehicles can be remedied by further technological progress.