GIS + GPS = AVL
In a business where delivering goods on time is critical, AVL systems are being used to manage logistics requirements. Typically, AVL systems give a real-time view of the exact route of the vehicle in addition to dispatch status by using a combination of GIS (Geographic Information System) and GPS (Global Positioning System). A vehicle’s location can be determined and it can be rerouted if necessary to provide timely delivery to a nearby customer. Additionally AVL systems can help solve problems such as pilferage or trucks being held up due to non-payment of Octroi. For instance, Textan Chemicals received regular complaints from customers about delays in delivery. In spite of carrying out detailed enquiries with various departments including production and logistics the company could not find a solution. Finally, it decided to deploy a GIS/GPS based automated vehicle locator system which gave the company details of the time taken by a vehicle to move from one location to another and the route taken.
As the level of AVL system adoption grows, prices are likely to come down. As of now customers are willing to deploy these devices only in select vehicles, says Quentin Desouza
Telecom operators such as Reliance and Bharti have been quick to tap this opportunity as fleet operators can use the reach of the cellular network to monitor vehicle movement. Reliance recently launched its own AVL system in India, it is currently being used by Reliance Logistics. “There are close to 5,000 vehicles at Reliance Logistics and this product is currently being used by around 40 vehicles,” says a company spokesperson. Though the product is yet to be launched the company is likely to price it at Rs 12,000 with an additional service charge of Rs 500 per month. The service will be built around Reliance’s CDMA network. Leveraging on its vast GSM network, Bharti Broadband offers AVL services to fleet vehicles, public transportation systems, delivery trucks, courier service companies and car rental agencies to track vehicles around the clock.
“Every vehicle is fitted with a mobile radio receiver, a GPS receiver, modem and antenna, which connects to a base radio consisting of a PC and a GPS receiver and interface,” says Dheeraj Kumar who is head for overseas business, Bioenable Technologies. The GIS is integrated with the GPS, where the data, after being exported to a GIS can be viewed on a digital map of the area being traversed by the vehicle. The use of GIS helps in knowing the route taken by a vehicle.
For a logistics manager, a simple Web interface provides the vehicle’s route. “A user logging on to our website has a password that lets him track the vehicle online. Any company wanting to adopt this system is charged on a per vehicle basis including all the equipment fitted in the vehicle,” says Quentin Desouza who is the chief executive officer at Quantum Designs. The company has a roster of clients using its systems including ICICI Bank and the Serum Institute of India.
Still a maze
These are still early days for AVL in India. The primary reason for this is that GPS devices that are attached to vehicles are quite expensive. Since a typical AVL system is a combination of GIS, GPS and cellular technology, the growth of this market is directly dependent on development in related areas. “As the level of adoption grows, prices are likely to come down. As of now we see that customers are willing to deploy this device only in select vehicles,” says Desouza of Quantum Designs. Most companies typically charge approximately Rs 30,000 to 35,000 per vehicle.