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Put Telematics to Work in Off-Road Vehicles

Author: Kanwaljit Basra and Bob Rauhof, Off Road Business Development Manager

The popularity of telematics for on-road fleet vehicles is growing, but the off-road applications are numerous as well. Developments in satellite and cell communications allow telematics devices to work even on vehicles in the middle of nowhere. This increased connectivity makes the benefits of fleet tracking more accessible to off-road fleets than ever before.

Companies can put telematics to work in off-road vehicles in myriad ways. Applications can range from the simple to the nuanced depending on a fleet’s goals and needs.

For example, when it comes to off-road equipment, time is critical, and technicians are often in short supply. Telematics makes it possible to monitor both equipment and on-road assets on the same screen, allowing for better routing of technicians. Telematics also supports logistics planning for delivery and pick up. See more use cases below.

Uses for Off-Road Telematics

Using telematics for off-road vehicles can increase fleet efficiency, reduce operating costs, increase driver safety, and make it easier to track and manage assets.

Example uses for off-road telematics:

· Track the use of a vehicle and its accessory (plow-down, bucket-up, etc.)

· Track/schedule maintenance based on accessory use and engine diagnostics

· Routing and planning of delivery and pick up

· Increase uptime and customer service by providing location so service crews can quickly find the vehicle

· Remote monitoring of engine faults allows service technicians to bring the right tools and parts on the first trip and assists in troubleshooting vehicle issues

· Monitor idling time against a threshold

· Provide comprehensive records of vehicle activity that can support management decisions, or improve resale value

· Give a more accurate overview of costs to enable competitive bids

· Assist in the event of theft by issuing alerts if a vehicle goes past a set boundary

Potential for Off-Road Rental Providers

For companies that rent off-road vehicles, there are additional uses for fleet tracking. In an industry where customer loyalty hinges on uptime and service, and price only helps so much, telematics can provide a competitive advantage.

More Accurate Billing With telematics data, companies can precisely track equipment usage for more accurate billing and transparency to customer. Rental providers can also adopt flexible or creative billing solutions, such as billing by hours used or a combination of time on rent plus hours used. They could also initiate overtime billing for machines that are used beyond predetermined allowance. Read more about connected vehicles in the rental car industry here.

Predicting Future Demand for Equipment Demand for vehicles and equipment can also be tracked by region and season, creating annual datasets used to predict equipment needs ahead of time. Rental companies can prepare their fleets for movement and secure better options for freight, complete needed repairs, or update inspections. Such flexibility puts businesses in a better position to react to customer requests.

Procurement Tracking seasonal use of the equipment also helps inform fleet purchasing decisions.

Invest in Safety

Telematics in off-road vehicles offer numerous safety improvements that are not always immediately obvious but can go a long way to reducing the risk of accidents for both operators and coworkers.

· Geofencing can limit how close heavy vehicles can get to sensitive underground structures, such as pipelines.

· Tire pressure and temperature monitoring can reduce the risk of machinery being operated in an unsafe manner.

· Third-party axle load monitors can be used to issue alerts if a vehicle is loaded over recommended capacity.

· Alerts for harsh braking, hard acceleration, excessive idling, and lack of seatbelt use can make sure unsafe operating habits are flagged and tracked.


Technology is reshaping the landscape for fleets in many industries — construction, mining, agriculture and oil and gas, to name a few. Don’t get left behind and get your vehicles/equipment connected today. Subscribe to the Geotab blog for the latest fleet news and best practices.

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