Satellite Navigation problems

This utility client had a fleet of over five hundred vehicles equipped with a vehicle tracking unit feeding the van’s location back to the control room and central call centre. The client subsequently decided to also fit the fleet with conventional sat-nav screens from a major brand to assist the driver. At roll-out it was soon discovered that the in-vehicle screen was misreporting the vehicle’s location by perhaps 400 metres. This mattered little to the control room, but to the hundreds of drivers it was a problem, and a source of much embarrassment, as the drivers soon showed that their personal sat-nav units worked ‘better’ than those provided by ‘Management’. In fact the errors were distracting the drivers and deemed a possible hazard. Our investigation of the real-time positional data flows, and discussions  with the in-house IT team and the programmers at the foreign manufacturers of the tracking device identified a data buffering problem that went unnoticed in the previous operational use. The manufacturer was persuaded to promptly update the firmware, which the in-house IT team deployed, and the problem was therefore resolved even before we prepared our written report.