July 18, 2017

New Tracking and IoT System Touches Down for Vehicle Fleet Owners

Ground Control brings its innovative RockAIR tracking system back down to earth by officially making it available for land-based applications. The move is a result of high levels of interest in RockAIR’s low-cost, dual-mode communication and feature-packed approach to tracking and safety, already enjoyed by land vehicle fleet owners and operators in government, charity, and commercial organisations.

With RockAIR, Rock Seven (now trading as Ground Control) initially delivered a ‘carry-on’ cockpit-mounted tracking system for helicopters and light aircraft that not only provided precise location reporting globally, it also introduced new internet of things (IoT) functionality that allowed pilots to send and receive messages and data over the internet. This unique feature-set also has the power to support safety and operational efficiency for diverse users on land, especially for vehicles operated by aid agencies and the military that may be travelling in potentially risky environments.

At its core, RockAIR provides regular GPS location reports from anywhere in the world over the Iridium satellite network or GSM networks at user-defined intervals, ensuring fleet managers know the whereabouts of their assets and people at all times. The dual satellite/mobile functionality provides lower-cost GSM-based tracking when in cellular range, and reliable failover to an Iridium satellite when outside of built-up areas. GPS coordinates are automatically transmitted using whichever network is available and most cost-effective, providing an extra layer of safety and security not available in single channel systems.

Building on its dual mode functionality, RockAIR offers new features designed to improve safety for vehicles operating in unfamiliar or dangerous locales. It can automatically transmit a GPS position as often as every 15 seconds or as infrequently as once every 24 hours, all easily configured by the user.

It also allows tracking profiles to be setup to enable faster rates if the integrated alert button has been pressed, if external power is applied (e.g., vehicle ignition), or if cellular data is being used rather than satellite. RockAIR also features a ‘Watch Me’ feature, accessible via the keypad, which informs the provider that more active monitoring is required for a period of time, enabling personnel in vehicles to react to situations that may escalate quickly, for example, during civil unrest or active combat.

While delivering precise tracking is RockAIR’s primary application, Ground Control has integrated extra functionality that takes advantage of the always-on connection the system keeps to the Iridium satellite and GSM networks.

Users can send and receive low-cost short emails and text messages using the free (iOS/Android) companion app over Bluetooth, ensuring that regardless of location, they can report back to base. RockAIR is also a true IoT device. It features a RS-232 port, which can be used for machine-to-machine data, enabling users to connect sensors and computing platforms to the internet. A Bluetooth API makes it easy for organisations to create their own apps that make use of the highly reliable connectivity RockAIR provides to benefit their specific operations.

Nick Farrell, director at Rock Seven (now trading as Ground Control), said: “While NGO and military organisations face completely different challenges from the general aviation sector, RockAIR’s tracking and data functionality is just as effective for improving safety and logistics on the dashboard of an SUV or troop carrier as it is in the cockpit of a helicopter or light aircraft. The interest we’ve received from organisations looking at land applications for RockAIR is huge, and we encourage fleet owners to get in touch to discuss how the system can help them to monitor and control their vehicles more effectively and for a lower cost.”