Automotive GPS: What Is It And How Does It Work?

Do you know what an automotive GPS is and what it is for? Before we explain this, let’s explain what this acronym means. The three letters come from the English term Global Positioning System which, in good Portuguese, became a Global Positioning System. We adopted the acronym GPS because, let’s face it, SPG would be pretty weird, right?

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  • And what is, effectively, the automotive GPS? In simple terms, it is an electronic device created to determine the exact location of the vehicle in which the receiver is installed, anytime and anywhere.

    Currently, GPS is a feature that it also works integrated with so-called trackers, which are very common, especially in the luxury segment. In this way, the user gets better prices when taking out insurance, as, in case of car theft, it is easier and faster to determine its exact location.

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    How does the automotive GPS work?

    Image: Pamela430/Pixabay/CC

    The automotive GPS works in the same way as those that are part of smartphone apps, or smartwatches or smartbands that accompany the sportsmen on duty. That is, it is linked to a network of satellites positioned around the Earth. These satellites communicate over a network and, through signal triangulation, detect the exact position of the tracker.

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    Satellites in orbit communicate primarily with control stations and antennas around the globe. They are the ones who calculate and synchronize, in milliseconds, the clocks, transmitting all the information to the vehicle receiver.

    Magic? No… Pure math. Calculations are done quickly and use the Equator and the Greenwich Meridian as reference points. The scan between them is what determines the geographic coordinate in which the vehicle is located or its global position in the system (Global Positioning System 504983). The error margin is, at most, 30 meters, and that only occurs because the position of the satellites is constantly updated.

    Other technologies

    The automotive trackers also work through two other technologies: GPRS and RFID. The first, from the English language General Packet Radio Service

    , is very similar to the one used in the automotive GPS. The difference is that the signal triangulation to determine the car’s position is done through the various telephone antennas positioned in the cities.

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    The second is called RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) or RF. It is (much) older and started being used in radar in World War II. It evolved and, today, its main niches are tracking cargo and locating animals. In cars, this system optimizes the radio frequency of GPS and GPRS trackers.

    The new “Guia Quatro Rodas”

    504983 Open Clippart Vectors/Pixabay/CC

    The “root” automotive GPS, that is, as it was known in its first versions (and it still exists in several models on the market), it was not simply a locator that today points out where your car is, anywhere on the planet.

    When it arrived, there was a way main objective to give the driver the best route from where he was to the place he wanted to arrive. So, it soon replaced something that only older readers will know what it is.

    We’re talking about the Four Wheel Guide. Don’t know what this is? Guia Quatro Rodas was a book full of maps with the names of streets, avenues and other points of the city. To find the destination was a struggle; and getting lost in the map, which sometimes forced us to turn the page, was very easy.

    For all that, the GPS has become one of the driver’s greatest friends since it was launched in 1989. Currently, more than 30 years after appearing on the market, it seems unthinkable to have to search , in lowercase, the name of a street, which is located in the “H2 of the page 1024 ”, and leaf through a small but thick book, in the best Dictionary Aurélio style, and then continue on. Good thing the automotive GPS was created to save us, right?

    With information: Tuning Parts, Tracker Group

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