Description / objective
In-vehicle data capture technologies to detect fuel usage rate are predominantly used for the measurement and analysis of fuel consumption rates under a variety of operating conditions. In addition to this, fuel consumption monitoring technologies can provide a means of surveillance to detect manipulation of fuel such as unauthorised draining of fuel. Monitoring devices also allow for the early detection of vehicle performance problems and the detection of excessive fuel consumption during operation. These technologies are commonly integrated with GPS devices to provide real-time vehicle tracking of fuel consumption to fleet operators and can also be used in unison with driver behaviour monitoring devices.
By monitoring and recording fuel consumption for different route options and under different load conditions, detailed information can be obtained to allow operators to implement the most economical working methods and route options. This could also allow for driver performance monitoring and ranking.
Typically the technologies used for fuel usage rate data capture include a fuel flow meter and fuel level sensor integrated with a GPS tracking device. The measurement components are located in the fuel system and are connected to the on-board computer where data is processed in line with information from the GPS unit and transmitted to the central control centre. Alternatively the sensors are connected directly to the GPS unit for on screen display. Components tend to be simple and relatively inexpensive.
- Operations management in terms of driving standards compliance and route selection.
- Surveillance and security.
- As an indirect driver aid in terms of subsequent service performance analysis.
Advantages and cautions
Fuel usage rate monitoring devices are effective for monitoring fuel consumption under various working conditions and on different routes. This information can be displayed to the operator for consideration of potential service improvements. One aspect which tends to be lacking though is direct driver feedback to improve driver behaviour where there is excessive fuel consumption. Other devices available measure driver behaviour such as vehicle speed, braking and acceleration but not fuel consumption directly and provide displays which notify the driver of inappropriate driving behaviour. These devices, or a combination of each, may provide a better solution.