The company hopes the tracking service, based on a network from communications firm QuikTrak, will allow it to pinpoint the exact location of its vehicles and staff, even in buildings and car parks - something that GPS (global positioning system) based systems cannot do.
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The QuikTrak network, which uses advanced spread-spectrum radio technology, is not reliant on any third party. Most commercially available location based services utilise the GSM network, relying on data from the mobile phone operators, which is only accurate to the nearest cell on their system.
The operators have, to date, charged high prices for accessing location data, but Addison Lee will be able to track each vehicle and communicate via two-way text messages with call costs that are “substantially less” than GSM services, QuikTrak said.
As well as prohibitive costs, the harsh environment experienced by a motorcycle has restricted the use of tracking services for couriers, said John Griffin, chairman of Addison Lee.
“Any trials (of tracking services) up until now have led to expensive equipment being ruined by the elements or shaken violently on the chassis of a bike," he said. "The QuikTrak transponder overcomes all these problems as it is carried by the rider.”
“As a result there is no requirement for installation of power or antennas and when the rider leaves the bike we are still aware of their location as they enter customer premises to collect and deliver parcels. In addition the rider is always contactable should further instructions need to be given on other collections.”
All the QuikTrak tracking data will be stored, giving Addison Lee the ability to retrace the journey of any of its vehicles for proof of delivery in the event of any customer disputes.