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Compact GPS Tracker

Compact GPS Tracker

In a nutshell

The project focused on creating a small reporting device with GPS features. The main goals were energy efficiency for long battery life, accurate tracking, large storage capacity, and easy synchronization with mobile apps via BLE or with PCs through USB.

Project overview

Project Duration:

08.2018- 01.2019

Team Setup:

2 x Software Embedded Engineers & 1 x Hardware Engineer

Technology:

BLE

Client Requirements

The primary challenges and goals of the project revolved around developing a compact, battery-powered GPS tracker. The objectives included efficient capture and storage of GPS coordinates, minimal power consumption for extended battery life, and the ability to be configured and fast synchronized through Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology and USB.

Project Scope

  • Hardware Design: Creation of a size-constrained PCB that includes components such as a BLE chip, storage, GPS module, and charger.
  • Embedded Software: Development of power-efficient firmware capable of storing collected GPS data in a file system, with support for both Bluetooth and USB communication.
  • Synchronization Application: Development of an easy-to-use command-line application for synchronization using USB or BLE protocol.
  • Prototype Production: Building a batch of 20 prototypes to test and validate the hardware and software functionality.

Approach

To address the challenges and achieve the project goals, the following steps were taken:

    • Hardware Design and Assembly: Finest selected electronic parts are connected together creating a unique embedded device. All components shall meet a list of requirements such as size, power consumption, and price.
    • Firmware development: Trackers required careful management of memory resources to ensure smooth and reliable operation with minimal impact on energy consumption. We achieved that by:
      • Smart GPS Coordinate Storage: Low power application to efficiently collect and store GPS coordinates in the device’s memory. Predictive power management system ensures energy savings while using tailored GPS driver for collecting data. Filesystem implemented on storage ensures easy synchronization.
      • BLE Configuration & Synchronization: The BLE technology was implemented to allow users to configure and synchronize the tracker remotely.
      • Battery Level and Charging Support: Continuously measuring battery voltage for accurate battery level reporting and low battery notification, while also adding USB charging support with attention to battery life cycle and safe charging conditions.
      • Secure Over-the-Air Update Implementation: Enabling remote updates for continuous enhancement and adaptability of device features.
  • Software Tools: The software engineers developed a user-friendly PC application that could communicate with the device, enabling users to adjust settings and retrieve stored coordinates using a USB cable or Bluetooth Low Energy.
  • Prototype Crafting: As soon as the hardware and software designs were proved to meet requirements, a batch of 20 prototypes was assembled. These prototypes were used to validate long-term stability as well as business value.

Business Impact

The successful creation of an energy-efficient compact GPS tracker through collaborative efforts between software and hardware engineers at needCode led to profound business impacts. The tracker’s accurate tracking, extended battery life, and user-friendly synchronization via BLE or USB established the client as a market leader, enhancing user confidence and engagement. Its versatility opened doors to new applications and revenue streams, while showcasing needCode’s technological expertise. The project bolstered brand credibility, fostered long-term customer relationships, and positioned the client for partnerships and data-driven insights. The tracker’s adaptability ensured future readiness, solidifying its impact on market differentiation, innovation, and business growth.

Results and Achievements

The collaborative efforts of the software-embedded engineers and the hardware engineer led to the successful development of a compact GPS tracker that met the project’s requirements:

  • The tracker demonstrated exceptional energy efficiency, resulting in a significantly extended battery life.
  • GPS coordinates were accurately captured, stored, and retrieved from the device’s memory, ensuring reliable tracking capabilities.
  • The BLE-enabled mobile application provided a user-friendly interface for configuring the tracker and synchronizing data, enhancing user experience.

Conclusion

The project showcased how a dedicated team of needCode’s engineers can overcome challenges and meet goals in developing advanced technology products. The energy-efficient GPS tracker with its compact design and BLE connectivity proved to be a valuable solution for location tracking, offering reliable performance and extended operational life. The successful collaboration between software and hardware engineers resulted in a cutting-edge device that addressed the client’s requirements effectively.

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