I'm glad you asked! There are numerous reasons to monitor a fleet of vehicles. Some organizations just want to track location, which is essentially just asset tracking, while others want to monitor the health of a vehicle. This can be helpful when needing to ensure that your vehicles are getting the maintenance they need. This improves safety and provides an insight into how to improve operations. It also helps in deploying a vehicle to where it can best serve.
Easy! For the next couple of weeks I'm going to be documenting my journey as I set out to build a DIY solution using off-the-shelf maker friendly hardware. I've already listed the bare minimum low-cost parts needed.
I'll be using a USB OBDII adapter (see link above) connected to a Raspberry Pi with a standard GPS module wired to the GPIO pins. With the Hologram Nova, a USB GSM modem, I'll be able to add remote connectivity to the vehicle tracker. Hologram.io provides amazing coverage at a very maker friendly cost. Best part is, someone could easily take this hack and turn it into a product ready to deploy.
There are two parts to this.
The first being the piece of code that runs to collect relevant information from the OBDII reader periodically and couples it with GPS data to then send as a data message through the Hologram.io network.
In the interest of transparency, I'm working through building this in nodejs, however the OBD-II libraries seem to be very outdated, so the first hurdle is writing out a useable implementation using the node-serialport library. If node doesn't work out this part might get built in python! If anyone reading this happens to have had experience with this, please reach out!
If you want to follow along and perhaps even help contribute, you can order the exact parts and contribute to the GitHub project!