Dissertation: Remote Monitoring and Management of a Vehicle

This dissertation involves a project to wirelessly control, track, log events and enforce access control of a vehicle/s in a fleet through an on-board micro-processing platform communicating to a central location hosting a web server and a database. The final system should act as a fleet management system (FMS), offering a telemetry service to all vehicles making use this system.  Fleet Management is a system that provides complete monitoring a group of vehicles which are used for the same business purpose or scope. Benefits related to fleet management include:

  • Monitor fuel levels/consumption to decrease fuel costs;
  • Control who can drive which vehicles and at which times;
  • Detailed reports about vehicle usage;
  • Locate vehicles (stolen or otherwise) with exact real-time position and status;
  • Lower insurance premiums; and
  • Reduce misuse of vehicles by drivers.

Usually this management is done by installing some form of device within a vehicle to allow for controlling and monitoring of the vehicle remotely. This device acts as a ‘black-box’ for the vehicle, collecting data from the vehicle in a remote environment and sending it off to central webserver; also the device acts as a computer controlling and manipulating certain features of the vehicle.

The Raspberry Pi is a very versatile and capable computer which can be used in numerous electronics and computer related projects. The Raspberry Pi features a SoC (System on Chip), which is a method of placing all necessary electronics for running a computer on a single chip. This credit-card sized computer also features a set of GPIO (General Purpose Input Output) pins that can be programmed to perform any task required by the Raspberry Pi programmer. Through these GPIO pins the Raspberry Pi can interface with other hardware components, acquire data from external sensors and manipulate the computer system using external inputs sensed through these pins. The Raspberry Pi is used as the ‘brains’ within the vehicle module to create a two way communication between the vehicle and the web server. The vehicle module collects data and manipulates hardware and various 12V or 24V circuits within the vehicle that does not directly make part of the computer system of the Raspberry Pi.