Friday, February 17, 2006

Vehicle Tracking, Road Sanding, GPS & PDAs

Our team in the UK has developed a very interesting vehicle tracking system using Pocket PCs, GPS and PTO sensors for the local motorway department. When roads become slippery due to snow and ice, these "grit" or "sanding" trucks drive out to a pre-determined territory and begin gritting/sanding the motorways. When the PTO is turned on to begin distributing the sand/grit, it sends data to the Pocket PC, and the Pocket PC activates the GPS device to begin recording coordinates. When the PTO is turned off, the Pocket PC notifies the GPS device and stops recording. This information is synchronized back to the central GIS and motorway management system so all areas that have been gritted/sanded are recorded.

The value of this system is that the motorway management has a database and a visual record of where grit/sand was applied. This is useful if an accident occurs and the accident victims take the motorway management to court. They can also easily respond to reports of ungritted motorways and rapidly dispatch gritting/sanding trucks to those locations.

The power of convergent devices like a Pocket PC with powerful database centric mobile software solutions that can integrate multiple data input devices is amazing. PTO sensors? Who would have thought?